IPBN Newsletter 2001 – Vol 9

IPBN Newsletter 2001 – Vol 9

PLANT-BASED NUTRITION

ORGANIC FOOD

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Input is the quality criterion for organic food production, whereas output would be the higher standard.  That is, organic food production is concerned with avoidance of manufactured chemicals in soil and on plants rather than guaranteeing that no harmful contaminants of any sort are in or on the food when it is eaten.  What goes in at the early stages of food production and delivery may be excellent, but it is what comes out that most concerns human health.  If organic food is not better looking, better tasting, more nutritious and less likely to harbor any persistent toxin, then consumers may not select it – especially if it costs more.  “Well, we can’t do everything,” a defender might argue.  The health-centered question is, “Can more care be taken and is even higher quality organic food possible?”  The honest answer is “yes!”

Organic food production systems have given consumers wonderfully high quality products, produce and processed, with progressively higher value in terms of appearance and nutrition.  There is every reason to believe that organic food growers, processors and manufacturers will continue to make progress which benefits of consumer, individual, family and public health.  The outcome of health is a primary reason for producing food organically, and only if health – long term and widespread – is an actual outcome can these systems be sustained.   

It is insincere and incorrect to state that “organic” agriculture is ecologically sound and helps preserve the planet if its fields are not managed to prevent erosion, it breeds, uses and slaughters fellow creatures for profits and products which cannot be scientifically demonstrated to be healthful, and if its products have not been demonstrated to be more nutritious.  Runoff of traditional organic and modern “organic” pollutants from traditional and modern farms and factories is problematic for everyone and the whole world.  Calling manure and urine, blood and pus certified “organic” does not make it purer in terms of global land, water and air pollution.  Fecal matter stinks, no matter whose or whether it has been certified.  The term “organic” is cluster of ideas which are a mixed bag of sub-concepts.  These ideas and their advocates have improved understandings of food and undeniably have led to better conceptualizations of wholesome agriculture and its benefits to people.  This is not a time to go backward and repudiate “organic” ideas totally; but it seems appropriate to clarify and perhaps sharpen them through rational dialogue.  “Organic” produce appears currently to be the best available.  Millions of Americans, and people all around the globe, are scrambling to it and the net result surely is good overall.  Nevertheless, most people still eat traditional organic and non-organic products most of the time and many fruits and vegetables have proven difficult to produce commercially following current “organic” rules.  If “organic” broccoli is $2.49 per pound and “non-organic” costs $.79, which will consumers and restaurateurs and institutional food purchasers buy?  Ideally, “Organic” produce would be safest, most nutritious and the best dollar value.   This will require a few more years.           

“Organic” vegetables must be grown in certified “organic soil” but may be sheltered by “non-organic” plastic sheeting mulch to prevent weed growth and reduce evaporation of plastic tube delivered irrigation water at the root level.  It is acceptable to fertilize hydroponically through these sub-soil irrigation systems so long as the soluble fertilizer is certified “organic” and is not merely organic.  Who can control pollutants which flow overhead, blow or float in on wind and in water?  Who certifies that when the “organic” pear is eaten that it is pollution-free, inside and outside, at that moment – or will taste good or be fresh and maximally nutritious?

Nobody wants cancer, heart disease or even allergies.  Nobody, however, can certify that these will never occur to one who eats “organic” produce either regularly or occasionally.  Not yet do supermarkets and health food stores label items “guaranteed pesticide and chemical fertilizer free”, nor can doctors yet authoritatively state that if you only eat certified “organic” produce you will experience no more health problems…ever.  “Organic” foods are better, we know and believe it, better for us and we feel better because of them.  “Organic” farmers know their land and its runoff and blowoff are in better shape because of certified “organic” soft-technologies.  Still, just as there is more cancer being diagnosed, farmers are also suffering continuing problems which are not caused by “organic” strategies, but also have not been eliminated by them.  Birds and rats will steal  “organic” and “non-organic” corn and drought spares neither saint or sinner.     

“Organic” soil supplements, fertilizers, bactericides, fungicides and  pesticides are judged desirable because of where they come from.  This is an example of the input model being used as the contemporary “organic” paradigm.  Chicken pomace may be used to dress organic citrus trees, the pulverized beaks, feathers, bones, blood and guts pureed to provide fertilization and mulch.  On the other hand, anhydrous ammonia extracted from the natural gas belching from ancient deposits of dead dinosaurs is not considered “organic”.  How come?  Chemists and organic folks have difficulty communicating.  The scientists keep going back to the idea that the term organic refers to chemical compounds which contain carbon.  Organic specialists will have none of this, except on tests in order to pass their chemistry classes.   Though they may indeed know better, seeming inconsistencies such as the “dead chicken waste is good but dead dinosaur waste is bad” issue remain problematic.  But nevermind.  Nor is it worth arguing that “organic” pyrethrum or rotenone pesticides may adhere to apple skin wax and cause eater irritation when a “chemical” pesticide has already evaporated, dissolved and washed away or dissipated into harmless compounds.  Nay, such could be said at a convention of chemists, but not at a gathering of organic proponents.  Here’s a dilemma….

For all their innovative advances in production quality and quantity, both intensive and expansive, organic food producers have not yet begun to meet the continually growing demands for their grains, lentils, fruits, vegetables, herbs and various processed items.  It is a wonderful situation.  They have many friends and more each day as the goodness of their strategies become clearer to those who are only beginning to be conscious of earth ecology and its relationships with human health.  Typically it is a disturbing visit to their doctor which propels them hastily toward organic, vegetarian and vegan cuisines.  Supermarket chains not promote organic foods which a decade ago were found only in health food stores.  It’s a nice situation for these advanced producers.  Yet, they have enemies.  Destructive bacteria, fungi, viruses and insects attack plants and adapt around whatever preventive barrier efforts farmers attempt.  Bankers who are heavily invested in non-organic producers may not warm to loan applications from an organic entrepreneur.  Everything seems to cost more every year:  taxes, water, seeds, “organic” soil supplements, pesticides and the like.  Fuel.  Electricity.  Labor.  Transportation does not come free or cheap and products which were perfect when they left the farm or manufacturing plant may arrive is disastrous condition.  Even weather can turn against a beautiful crop at just the wrong moment.  Increasing demand for larger quantities of increasingly higher quality food…it is like the sword of Damocles hanging over the organic producer’s head….  At any moment that sword can drop and there goes another risk taker down the proverbial tube.  Glory one day, sadness the next – then redemptive miracles sometimes follow as the up and down cycles continue.  Farmers love this life.        

And how fortunate it is for everyone depending on them for food and products to process.

At farmer conferences conversations sometimes run like this:  “Oh, I got 23 acres of organic…the soil has been tested now for the required three years…there’s 18 more acres in transition with one year of testing done and two to go…and then I have 120 acres that’s not organic.”  Side by side?  “Yeah, but we don’t spray from the air so there’s not much drift.”  Except when the wind blows?  “Yeah.”  And your well water is tested daily?  “No wells, we use flood irrigation…river water…the government built the system and without it we’d just have desert.”  And the organic crops make more profit?  “Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  It just depends.  A farmer down the road lost his whole organic crop last year…tried to save it with conventional, but it was too late…root rot below and hungry bugs on top…it was a disaster…for him…a mile away from my place…but my strawberries and tomatoes, organic, made good…it just depends.”  What do you buy for home consumption?  “Some of both.  If the organic looks good, we go for it first.  But there’s not organic stuff in our market every day so we go back and forth.  My wife says she can tell the difference.  Sometimes I can too.  If there’s something I want to eat, though, and it looks good, whether it’s organic or non-organic, I buy it and sometimes eat it on the way home.”  Ever worry about pollution and chemicals in the water sprayed on organic produce at the point of retail sale?  “No, I never thought about that.  It wouldn’t be much would it?  They’ve got to put something in the water so we can drink it.  Can’t drink river water straight anymore….”  Yeah.

“Organic” fruits and vegetables may be dipped in hydrogen peroxide or soda ash and carnauba wax or shellac to slow decomposition by bacteria, fungi, viruses and insects.  Dipping fresh picked citrus fruits in a soda ash bath seals skin cracks and provides an alkaline residue which is antibacterial and antifungal allowing storage at 33 degrees Fahrenheit for up to six months.  Shellac is an alcohol soluble insect exudation imported from India which is considered acceptable in “organic standards.”  Also “organic,” but certainly different, carnauba wax is produced by cactus plants in Mexico and Brazil.  Shellac or carnauba may be used to seal in the hydrogen peroxide or soda ash.  All this processing is necessary to preserve produce for packing, storage, shipping and further storage – so that it will look appealing when displayed for retail sale.  “Non-organic” produce might be coated with petroleum-based organic but not “organic” paraffin or sealed with “organic” shellac containing “non-organic” but organic petroleum based antibacterial and antifungal compounds.  It’s enough to drive a produce manager mad….

“Organic” produce can be packed in “non-organic” but possibly organic films and plastics as well as neither “organic” or organic glass containers.  Should the labels attached directly to produce be “organic” or will plain organic or “non-organic do?  The gums which adhere them?  As a matter of fact, the Food and Drug Administration recommends digestible “organic” label inks, papers and adhesives.  FDA lacks budget to enforce such a standard.  Some “organic” produce is labeled exactly as FDA recommends as the highest standard edible label.

Refrigerators are not “organic” though the chlorofluorocarbons or ammonia which serve as their refrigerants are organic indeed.  Drat.  What to do?  Just ignore it.  These things have nothing to do with the food people eat, that is they are not in or on the food.  Why bring these things up?  If chlorinated and fluoridated water are tolerable, don’t mention chillers and coolers or ask whether they are run on “organic” gasohol or “non-organic” organic gasoline or diesel.  Maybe most of them run on electricity (and in Delaware there’s a federal tax advantage if the kilowatts are produced from “chicken waste.”)

From its beginning, our “organic food” movement has not defined itself in terms of high quality toxicity free products delivered pure and safely without any possible contaminants from fields into consumers’ mouths.  Rather, it has concentrated for half a century on assuring uncontaminated soils and seeds and so-called hard chemical free produce up to the point when it leaves the farm….

We can do better.  Our motto should be:  “Organic Food is the Highest Quality Possible in Terms of Production, Delivery, Nutrition and Contaminant-Free”.  “Un-Contaminated from Soil to Dinner Plate” is the message health conscious consumers deserve to hear.  Some of these output standards are already in practice, informally, by enlightened producers and food handlers at each level throughout the system.  Current labeling does not indicate which products are from these producers, but someday it could.  “Tomorrow, tomorrow,” as the song from the musical “Annie” suggests, and then for sure we will all be on “Easy Street.”  Manna manana in paradise….

Perhaps the “organic” food industry systems can be tweaked forward this little bit more and win even greater trust and praise from grateful consumers, nutritionists and dietitians, food related disease specialist doctors from allergists to oncologists, and make even higher profits while expanding to incorporate essentially all land in production in such a higher standard thrust to assure maximal food safety and quality.

If flesh and bone and blood were good fertilizers for plants, wouldn’t cemeteries be bounteous gardens of Eden?  Oh, it’s the formaldehyde?  Isn’t that organic?  Some fresh thinking can bring organic standards up greatly and, of course, the leaders are in fact pushing forward on a variety of fronts.  It will never be too early to say “Goodbye to Mr. And Mrs. Chips” and move past putrid manures into healthy plant based ones.  Green manures of every sort have great futures.

When finally “organic” food production systems have gotten as good as they can be, it will be time to oust the chicken pomace and fellow creature manures as veganic-organic standards become the preferred and most acceptable way of feeding people.   Having been self-saddled with the romance of mammal flesh, effluent and insect regurgitation, “organic” devotees have attempted to bridge the worst with the best of pre-World War Two agriculture and continually must strive to reconcile slaughterhouse culture economics with human nutritional needs.  It’s a chasm which cannot be bridged.  Sticking with it is schizophrenic.  Killing and eating fellow creatures is not a practical or sustainable pathway for feeding humankind and improve human health.

This is a good time to begin moving from “traditional,” “transitional” and “organic” food production into veganic-organic and then just plain veganic agriculture.  It is the future.  Sooner or later, by accident, edict or intuition, slaughter based agriculture will destroy itself – for it is just not healthy for either fellow creatures, farmers, product handlers, consumers or mother earth.

By the year 2099 veganic or veganagro, or whatever the plant-based nutrition-centered food production system and healthy food industry will be called then, will surely have established itself as the norm.  The alternatives?  They all seem lacking in comparisons.  For example, why bother arguing the virtues of urine-drenched fellow creature manures and then hauling millions of tons of this slaughter industry byproduct which is invariably loaded with toxins from virulent bacteria, and fungi along with concentrated salts, residues from antibiotics and odor galore when fresh smelling composted hardwood and softwood tree bark and leaves can be scientifically demonstrated to provide a richer source of nitrogen, a greater variety of minerals and fewer if any of the bad chemical contaminants that drop from the rear ends of sick, medicated suffering creatures?  Woodchips, barks and leaves, plant residues, seaweeds and minerals as needed – these are the wholesome basis of veganic-organic food production and plant-based nutrition.  If our soil needs more iodine or boron, it can be added easily?  Nitrogen?  Legumes extract it from the air and deposit in slow decomposing nodules throughout the soil.  Healthy plants with all the nutrition they need use less nitrogen; sometimes soil calcium deficiency is compensated for by adding too much nitrogen.  Whatever edible plants need to grow can be provided by mineral and plant soil supplements and foliar sprays.

There are at least five other new directions as overwhelming and positive as the “organic” thrust and these will assure that future millions can be fed.  “organic” and traditional greenhouse production of vegetables, herbs and flowers is expanding exponentially.  It can become exclusively veganic easily and inexpensively.  Under cover veganic-hydroponic food production can extend the growing season anywhere on earth and minimize insect damage to produce while adapting harvest times to consumer needs and demands.  It exists and will boom over time as nutrition values are demonstrated to be superior.  And field crops are increasingly being planted earlier under unwoven cloths which cover the valleys between rows and provide a greenhouse effect equivalent to moving the crop several degrees closer to the equator.  From Central America to Canada, row covered cropping is producing more and better quality produce.  And scientific researchers on and off university campuses are learning about soil, soil structure, soil architecture with fruitful results while seed lovers are preserving and back breeding to restore “heirloom” vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs so that the best foods of the past are becoming increasingly available and well received.

Food production which is sustainable over centuries, capable of expanding to feed the increasing global population and ecologically sound as well as environment improving and philosophically ethical will survive.  It can’t not be organic.  It has to be organic, for there is no food where there is no carbon.  That food production strategy which cannot meet these five criteria will eventually put itself out of business because of inherent inefficiencies.  Prudence suggests careful analysis and evaluation of what can be sustained indefinitely and what cannot.

The “organic” versus organic issue is not so important as the healthful veganic-organic versus the unhealthful traditional inhumane agriculture.  Wisdom suggests shifting as soon as possible to that which can be sustained, will likely grow, and is healthy for everyone in the system.  Buckminster Fuller said that humans “back into the future.”  This would be a good time to back forward faster.

By 2099, food producers will know much more than today and people can be very much healthier.  In the 21st century it will be prudent to shift all food production to veganic-organic principles and standards for veganagro is sustainable indefinitely.  Veganic organic agriculture is concerned with inputs and outputs and insists that everything be conducted veganically in  the middle.  By Century 22 veganic will surely be the norm.  During Century 21, individuals and small groups through their veganic organic guided purchasing power can serve as a rudder to guide the nutrition ship wisely and safely – as Helen Nearing used to say – into the light.

All thought is symbolic.

Piaget

SEAWEED BUILDS SOIL AND PEOPLE

For seaweed to dress the spring garden, everyone’s friend survivalist hero Larch Hansen hand harvests, dries, packs and ships it from his family business Maine Seaweed Company, Box 57, Steuben, Maine 04680.   

Larch carefully and caringly selects the finest seaweeds for his mail order customers coast-to-coast.  He ships whatever nature provides and annual customers buy a pro-rata share.  For around $55.00 one receives the same portion of nori and kelp, for example, as others who have ordered a box.  Larch is communal and fair.  His is a sort of a one-man co-op except that he does all the work.  He views his life task as working to feed, educate and otherwise help other people.  One could not ask for a better friend or neighbor.  Drying, sorting, packaging and shipping keep his nuclear family busy.

Larch recommends that nori be cooked with vegetable dishes and offers this recipe.  “Make lentil soup with nori, using onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsley, sage, and bay leaf.  Start with nori and herbs in water first.  Add lentils and chopped vegetable. Cook until nori and lentils are tender.  Enjoy.”  Larch doesn’t waste a lot of words or get carried away with numbers.  Seaweed customers receive small recipe sheets for each type they order.  His newsletter reveals he is a philosopher as well as boatman.

Summer harvest season interns can apply to work with Larch in the Atlantic cove he harvests each summer.  One a year gets this privilege and has opportunity to learn the sea, boats, navigation, seaweed harvesting and drying techniques.  Larch offers workshops and when he travels during the winter likes to speak to groups about wonderful planet earth and the plentiful edible plant foods for humans which it provides in the ocean and on land.       

  

We are citizens of the world; the tragedy of our times

is that we do not know this.

Woodrow Wilson

Down the road from Larch Hansen’s cove is a much larger enterprise,  Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, which buys some of Larch’s harvest surplus at times – and much more seaweed than he can provide from other Maine Coast harvesters.  MSV in tiny seaside Franklin packages seaweeds and ships them to wholesalers and retailers across North America.  This is a good business, run fair and square as they do up in Maine at the edge of the world ocean which reminds them that everything is connected just as Einstein said.

It is a poor kitchen pantry which lacks at lease one of each Maine Coast Sea Vegetable product.  Every local health food store can order and should have them on display.  In the storeroom, there should be full backup inventory so that when an item is sold out another batch is brought up front to satisfy customers.  When inventory begins to run low, more should be ordered.  People need to eat more sea vegetables and in order to grow the sea vegetable businesses need more customers consuming more healthful sea products.

Why eat sea vegetables or “seaweeds” as they are commonly called?  Iodine!  Calcium!  Iron!  Zinc!  Chromium, manganese, molybdenum and all the other essential trace minerals!  Leached inland soils lack the rich mineral diversity available in ocean waters and what do sea plants do but collect and concentrate these for plant eaters.  Maybe there’s some important vitamin content!  Protein too!  Like other vegetables, those grown in the ocean contain silica and enzymes.  The fact is that scientists cannot even yet ascertain exactly what all seawater and seaweeds contain.  A prudent plant eater knows that human type creatures are supposed to eat sea vegetables and typically thrive when they do.

Every soup deserves a bit of seaweed, so does every salad and casserole.  At Maine Coast Sea Vegetable Company they bake nori soaked in maple syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds for a delicious and nutritious snack or dessert.  In whipped tofu maple cream a tiny pinch of powdered kelp adds something extra.  Scrambled tofu begs for dulse flakes, kelp, nori – whatever sea vegetable is available at the time which suits the chef’s mood.  Don’t eat baked or mashed potatoes without adding some seaweed.  Cook beans and kombu seaweed together and you’ll be pleased with the results.  Stewed tomatoes and every kind of sauce needs a bit of seaweed in some form.  Japanese wisely eat steamed and boiled sea vegetables whole and this is a good habit for Americans to acquire.  Seaweed can be eaten raw anytime.  Carry it in your pockets.  Its innumerable enzymes are enriching.  It stores well.  Organic as can be.  Survive with seaweed.  Here is a truly all-natural food.

If local purveyors can’t or won’t provide all the seaweed products you want and need, Maine Coast Sea Vegetable Company will put you in contact with nearby vendors who will, or they’ll bulk ship a case or truckload directly to you.  Individuals, chefs on land and ships at sea can only reach their maximum potential through the use of sea vegetables and the folks at MSV will gladly help with everything from recipes to drop-shipped-packages to scheduled ports-of-call.  Pentagon food buyers need to add sea vegetables to their stock for an army marches better and an air force flies better when it is nourished by vegetables from the sea.  Marines and other Navy personnel who are not sailing regularly and taking in mouthfuls of seawater need sea vegetables in their daily rations and stashed in their pockets for emergency snacks.  It is possible that prisoners are malnourished and can experience positive behavioral benefits from eating seaweeds; it’s worth a try wardens.

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables are “certified organic” by “OCIA, an international certifier” which knows its seaweeds and monitors both the harvest sources and gathered products to assure they are toxicity free as possible.  IPBN taste tests indicate MCSV products are delicious, easy to use, of reliable and superior quality.  The plastic bag packaging is attractively illustrated, informative with suggestions for use – and re-sealable with an ecologically sound hint to “Please re-use this bag.”  No finer products to be found.

Address MCSV at:  Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Post Office, Franklin, Maine 04634 or e-mail at info@seaveg.com or through the website at www.seaveg.com and for a recipe book with imaginative uses of seaweeds send a check or money order for US$3.00.

   

I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world.

Socrates

Nobody knows as much about sea vegetables as human food as the Japanese.  And that is why Michael Potter and crew at EDEN FOODS long ago traipsed from their small village headquarters in Michigan, west of Detroit, to the eastern archipelago of Asia and arranged to import the finest sea vegetable products Japan has to offer.

And there are no better.  EDEN FOODS EDIBLE SEAWEED SUSHI NORI is marvelously crisp and black, tasty whether rolled around rice and vegetables or crumbled over salads and anything else being eaten.  Nori, Porphyra tenera, is pounded, pulverized and rolled into thin flaky sheets of nori by EDEN FOODS suppliers.  Cut to a standard rectangular size set by the sushi tradition, this nori is then packaged and sealed in appropriate plastic envelopes with Japanese decor and English labeling.  Arame can be used in stuffing mushroom caps, kombu enhances soups and beans, nori may be toasted or crumbled over salads and agar-agar makes a gel flavored and stiffened however you like it. wakame used in salads and their dressings while hiziki makes an udon salad exquisite.  That these are mostly hand harvested wild sea vegetables and certainly organic makes them essential foods for vegans and everyone else if they will realize it.   

Health food stores and supermarkets which have not yet stocked the full line of EDEN FOODS EDIBLE SEAWEED products are missing sales and behind the curve aimed toward maximum nutrition and complete healthfulness.  Consumers who haven’t tried these or cannot find them locally will learn a great deal from the literature provided by  Eden Foods, Inc., 701 Tecumseh Road, Clinton, Michigan  49236 TEL: 800-248-0320.

You are the world.

Ramakrishna

Of the plant food producing industries involved in veganagro and veganomics, the sea vegetable sector probably has the greatest future growth potential.  When it comes to feeding billions more humans, thoughtful nutrition planning decision-makers should look toward the sea.  Harvesting of sea vegetables is small scale nowadays, but imagine what it will be in another hundred years.

I am, you are, we are all together the world.

anon

SALT OF THE EARTH AND OCEAN

It turns out that not all salt sold for human consumption is the same.  No longer can we get by with saying “Salt is salt and so what.”  It was a nice lady at the Fall 1999 New Hope Communications Natural Products EXPO EAST in Baltimore who provided the needed education.  Yes, so-called table salt is mostly sodium chloride – just like it says on the box.  And there may be additives to prevent caking to assure that even on a damp day in Louisiana, whether Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse or whomever is vegan gourmet chef of the day, “When it rains it pours.”

Ancient seas deposited sodium chloride with associated compounds and these are mined from Germany and the United States to Timbuctu where salt slabs have been used as currency in past times.  It was salt crusting around bubbling springs which caused Native Americans to set aside a sacred meeting area and meet annually near modern Syracuse in Upstate New York to swap stories, enjoy themselves, trade and collect sacred the salt which is more recently being dusted on roadways in winter to save the automobile culture for all seasons.  Rock salt, sea salt, its all a precipitate from ancient or contemporary ocean basins.

Ancient seabeds in Utah have long been scooped to gather various salts for industrial and home food preparation use.  Some of these compounds are marketed as arthritis and rheumatism preventives or cures.  For some, who need missing elements they contain, it seems that miracles occur after the first tablet is swallowed or elixir is sipped.  Salt, after all, is essential in human nutrition.  Similar geologic salt beds are mined around the world for society needs salt.  Someday maybe Takla Makan Basin Mongolian salt will bring a premium price in world markets.  Lately, Israeli Dead Sea Salt is claimed to be one of the best, purest, healthiest and certainly it may be.  It is expensive, but advocates assure that there is something special in it and no few chefs favor it.

Poor old Gandhi got into a lot of trouble by defying the whole British Empire over salt.  The Empire’s India representatives required salt to be a “state monopoly” so it could collect taxes on every gram and no one could touch it without buying a governmental license.  Mahatma felt this rulemaking was not to the advantage of ordinary Indians and so he stripped down to diaper and staff and began his famous “march to the sea.”  Rather a large crowd followed the Mahatma and so did British military on horses and probably in platoons.  When he reached India’s west shore, squatted and began to collect salt crystals with his fingers, “law” was violated and the Empire crashed down on him and anyone else nearby.  It was pandemonium.  Kill the salt harvesters was the official cry and blood ran, again, saline human blood let over salt warring.  Mohandas and followers eventually won their human right to salt and hopefully the current Indian government is not taxing it.

It was the curious presentation of “French Atlantic Coast Salt” which aroused curiosity and led to the conferring with salt lady at EXPO EAST 1999.  “Why is your salt best?  Better?  Different?”  She was kind and patient and tried to satisfy with an easy answer.  “Well, it’s harvested along the shores of southwestern France.”  Alas, surely more could be said.  Pressed, she spilled out the truth.  Whole and nothing but….  She said, “the chemists tell us that the reason it is better is because it has less sodium chloride and therefore tastes less sharp on the tongue.”  It was now impossible to stop her, the words flowed freely.  “It has more potassium,” she paused breathlessly as many bent their ears to hear this explanation and gasps were heard, “and magnesium” she went on “and many essential trace minerals.”  On the tongue it was less sharp, mild even and very pleasant though salt shouldn’t be eaten alone except to test its taste quality.  Sparingly is the rule.   

So, there it is, the facts which explain why fine chefs rave and their dining customers return.  French Atlantic Coast Sea Salt will bring them back for more fine flavored foods.    So-called salt is not necessarily just sodium chloride from who knows where.  There’s more to the story – history, technology and romance.  Indeed this salt does taste mild and lingered on the tongue nicely, not sharply.  And let the record show that there are two certified organic Atlantic seawater processing saltmaking operations along the west coast of France.

Maybe it is only the simplistic junior high school science class level awareness that a human body is like a battery or sorts and sodium must be balanced with potassium else osmosis or something can cause excessive sodium retention, keep one miserable, short circuit fragile processes and who knows what else.  Of course fruit must be eaten to provide potassium to balance sodium which is overly plentiful.  Now comes a salt which may provide useful proportions of potassium.  Why hasn’t this been clarified before?  And when a salt has this many advantages, why not add a few more by enriching it as only Swiss herbalists can do?

A former Swiss secret has been brought to America by A. Vogel Bioforce as Organic Herb Seasoning Salt a “flavorful preference to table salt.”   They call it Herbamarie.  “No MSG.  No HVP.”  No monosodium glutamate and no hydrolyzed vegetable protein.  This food flavor enhancer is “made with organically grown fresh herbs and vegetables steeped with natural sea salt to saturate the salt crystals with the richest flavor.”  This is the highest quality certified organic French Atlantic sea salt herbed.  In this unique A. Vogel Swiss process, fresh herbs are steeped in the sea salt and then barreled in stainless steel for at least a year while salt and herbs transfuse. The final result is packaged as Herbamarie which probably translated into something like marine steeped herbs.  Anyway, it tasted good, surely is more nutritious than straight sodium chloride and may well have an ideal balance between sodium, potassium and all the good trace minerals and compounds herbs provide. So far as certified pure goodness is concerned, Herbmarie is a winner and therefore, of course, it is absolutely a ***** IPBN FIVE STAR QUALITY VEGAN GOURMET PRODUCT and used in IPBN kitchen tests as well as vegan food preparation demonstrations.  Nice, and more than just salt.

Consumers and merchants can obtain samples of Herbmarie from Rapunzel Pure Organica, Inc., 122 Smith Road, Kinderhook, New York 12106  TEL:  800-207-2814  WEBSITE:  www.rapunzel.com/herbamare and determine for themselves whether this product is worth its salt.  Herbmarie should be available in every health food store.

IS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE GOOD?

“Committed to Responsible Stewardship of the Land Through the Practice of Sustainable Agriculture” is the motto of Stahlbush Island Farms, Inc. up in Oregon.  What do you mean, sustainable? asked an inquirer, and sales manager Barry Westfall answered, “We use synthetics instead of manures, practice earth-friendly sustainable agriculture which is officially certified ‘Salmon Safe” by the Pacific Rivers Council up here in the northwest.”  Another question followed, “What do you mean synthetic?”  Barry had heard these queries before and quickly answered “That’s what the organics people call chemicals.”  For example?  “We use a mix…there’s nitrogen and sulfur and copper….”  You’d use anhydrous ammonia made from natural gas? “Yes.”  And your sulfur and copper would be just like the organic chaps.  “Yes.”  He said, “We could use Chilean nitrates like the organics, but don’t.”

This interchange clarifies some of the major differences in the “organic” and “sustainable agricultural strategies.  There are the “organics” and the “sustainable” among contemporary food growers – and eventually with good fortune  “veganic-sustainable-organics” can evolve through these current specialization’s.  But this is another story for another day.      

Barry and everyone working at Stahlbush Island Farms is concerned with input and output when it comes to soil supplements, fertilizers, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-harmful-insect materials used in food production.  Surrounded by great rivers and aware of all the types of fishkills caused by toxic runoff and drift from crop production, the Stahlbush team determined to save the salmon which required saving the river and therefore ensuring that their vegetable and berry production technologies protected the environment and themselves.  One can imagine a Native American spirit advising, save the salmon and you will save all life including yourself.

“Certified organic” technologies had problems these farmers didn’t want to experience.  To cite one example, downstream from organic dairies, fish often die from the concentrated waste runoff though these polite northwesterners are too fairminded to mention this.  However, there wouldn’t be anything about competing strategies which they haven’t considered and reflected on.     And having done so, they chose their preferred path, went their value driven way and won approval from The Food Alliance Stewardship Program.  These Stahlbush farmers consider themselves stewards of land, water, air and plants and have developed plant growing strategies which can be sustained.

Stahlbush sustainable farming specialists produce chopped broccoli, green peas, whole kernel corn, harvest blend vegetable mix, blueberries and strawberries in commercial quantities.  “Our products,” they state, “are grown in an environmentally friendly manner, providing you with some of the highest quality vegetables and fruit in the marketplace while at the same time improving our natural resource base.”  Stahlbush customers are “mostly large manufacturers” who make plant food products such as “Mrs. Smith’s pies and Heinz.”  Yes, these food producers do manufacture vegan products and some of the best of them contain “100% PURE NATURAL” foods grown by Stahlbush folks who are “Farming for the Future.”  They offer produce with “NO DETECTED PESTICIDE RESIDUE.”  “NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS.” “NO PRESERVATIVES.”  NO SALT ADDED.”

Consumers in their region can find 10 ounce packages of Stahlbush “Sustainable Frozen Vegetables and Fruit” in markets of all sorts.  Their products are “Packaged in Natural Kraft Paper made with post consumer recycle products, as opposed to poly film.”  Merchants and other quantity buyers can buy these in 8.5 pound packages directly from Stahlbush Island Farms, Inc., 2122 Stahlbush Island Road, Corvallis, Oregon 97333-2709  TEL:  541-757-1497  FAX:  541-754-1847  EMAIL:  sif@stahlbush.co.  WEBSITE:  www.stahlbush.com

Is sustainable agriculture good?  Good enough?  Superior?  Can it really be sustained indefinitely?  Should vegans support it?  Does it meet the needs of plant-based nutrition for humans?  Something here to think about.  These are very good people with some extremely sound ideas and goals.

NEWS AND VIEWS

“Scientists decode DNA of plant chromosome”

(ASSOCIATED PRESS, December 16, 1999)

(Nature, December, 1999)

“Genes governing such basic processes as cell division are almost identical in plants and [fellow creatures] strongly suggesting that both descended from the same ancient one-celled organism that lived about 1.5 billion years ago” according to J. Craig Venter, chairman of Genomic Research in Rockville, Maryland.  AP science writer Scott Newman reports that “Scientists have decoded the DNA of a complete plant chromosome for the fist time,” achieving “a milestone in understanding the deepest secrets of the plant kingdom and a step toward developing improved crops….”

“Researchers unraveled the genetic structure of two chromosomes from Arabidopsis thaliana, a member of the mustard family.”  Newman reports that “Arabidopsis has long been a favorite subject for the study of plant genetics, because its genome – the complete collection of its DNA – is relatively small.” And, he continues, “It is also an ideal model for gaining insights into 180,000 other flowering plants including corn, wheat and rice.”

“…About half the genes uncovered during sequencing have no known function.  That is about the same percentage of mystery genes being found in human and [fellow creature] genomes said J. Craig Venter….”  “By sequencing Arabidopsis, you can use the information to infer the basis set of genes that make up any plant,” says Michael Bevan, the European Union team coordinator in Norwich, England.

And where will this lead?  Those numerous “mystery genes”?  Is Dr. Frankenstein again stalking or can amoral science be constrained for the long term good of humankind, et al?

“For Those Fighting Biotech Crops, Santa Came Early This Year”

(THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 14, 1999, A-1)

“Serious money is starting to flow to the antibiotech movement in the U.S., even amid debate over whether the opposition is mostly about a scientific threat, an aversion to big business or a wariness of the unknown” according to TWSJ science writer Lucette Lagnado.  The moneyed, spurred by Nell Newman are leaping forward with open purses. Rockefeller Foundation leaders have spoken effectively against using the  United States Department of Agriculture supported research discovery called the “terminator gene” and Monsanto has terminated its contract to use this innovation in its agricultural seed production.  Ms. Lagnado reports that RF, “which has spent $100 million funding biotech research, including efforts to develop vitamin-enriched rice and to enhance crop yields, all aimed at helping farmers and improving nutrition in poor countries,” has lately put forward $150,000.00 top support the work of Carol Tucker Foreman, at the Consumer Federation of America in Washington, D.C., who “wants the government to require labeling and strictly regulate genetically modified foods – a view the industry opposes.”

And what will be the end of all this spending and dialogue?  What a good time to join the heirloom vegetable and fruit movement and buy foods certified “not genetically modified.”

“So plentiful you needn’t shell out”

(LOS ANGELES TIMES, December 2, 1999)

Russ Parsons, LAT food writer, reports “There will be roughly 830 million pounds of almonds,” this harvest year, “a 60 percent increase over last year.”   Up 23 percent, “The walnut harvest is expected to be about 560 million pounds.”  Will consumers reap bountiful savings?  Parsons notes that “Because of the supply, wholesale prices of nuts are the lowest in years.”  Will consumers reap bountiful savings?  Retailers set small package prices….

Time to go nuts?  Help producers move the surplus or force an inventory overhang?  Help!

“Mild Weather, Big Crop Outlook Send Orange Juice Prices Falling”

(Investors Business Daily, December 15, 1999, B-17)

“Frozen concentrated orange juice futures prices tumbled Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange on concerns over the size of the U.S. orange crop.”  “Orange juice futures fell in technical trading as investors bailed out on the belief that prices will continue to drop, according to analyst Ernie Thomas of Merrill Lynch & Co,  There is also concern the coming winter will be a mild one, which could result in an increase in the size of the orange crop.”  The United States Department of Agriculture “estimates the U.S. crop will total 214 million boxes weighing 90 pounds apiece, a 3 million box increase from its previous estimates.”  According to Associated Press reports, “The size of Brazil’s orange crop added to the market’s concerns.”  “Estimates by USDA’s attache in Brazil indicate that nation’s crop could total 304 million boxes,” says Thomas of Merrill Lynch.  “That would make it an average crop for the world’s largest orange producer.”

Orange juice is rich in Vitamin C, folic acid and innumerable minerals and enzymes.

“U.S. allows … irradiation, with labeling requirements”

(ASSOCIATED PRESS, December 15, 1999)

“Processors will be allowed to irradiate raw beef, pork and lamb to eliminate deadly bacteria and other organisms, but such products will have to carry labels informing shoppers of the treatment, the government said yesterday” reports AP Washington Correspondent Philip Dresher.  He quotes UDSA Secretary Dan Glickman as saying, “While there is no single silver bullet to cure all food safety problems, irradiation has been shown to be both safe and effective.”  “Labels on irradiated products, including sausage made from irradiated beef or pork, will have to carry the international symbol of irradiation, known as a ‘radura.” And a statement that they were treated.”

“The symbol, green on a white background, depicts two leaves resting in a semicircle, with a green dot above that semicircle and beneath another, broken-lined semicircle.”

 

“Irradiation, which was already approved for poultry,” [and before that for vegetables and fruits but consumers and merchants have refused to utilize the irradiation process in this market sector],”is then only known method to eliminate deadly E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria in raw” flesh “and can significantly reduce levels of other pathogens including listeria, salmonella and campylobacter.”  Earlier in 1997 the Food and Drug Administration had already approved such irradiation, but it also “had” to be approved by USDA.

“Initially,” irradiated flesh “is likely to be most popular with hospitals and nursing homes, because of the danger E. coli poses to patients with weakened immune systems,”  according to Carol Tucker Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America….  According to this Brasher report, “E. coli 0157 can cause serious illness and sometimes death, especially in children and the elderly.  An estimated 78,480 people are infected every year, and about 600 cases are fatal, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”  “This was long overdue,” said National Food Processors Association spokesman Tim Willard.

A holiday season gift from those who have given so much before.  What timing!  Wrong imagery?  Fortunately, human food won’t be irradiated.  Soy meat and wheat meat sales will surely increase.

Medical group backs Medicare financed nutrition counseling”

(ASSOCIATED PRESS, December 16, 1999)

“The Institute for Medicine is a part of the National Academy of Sciences, a private organization chartered by Congress to advise the government of scientific matters.”  Yesterday it advised that “Medicare should pay for nutritional counseling to help senior citizens change their diets when a doctor recommends it” according to AP Science Writer Alice Ann Love.

Human nutrition appears to be an increasing interest.  More vegan nutritionists will be needed.

TIME TO MAKE TEMPEH

“Lightly cooked, split soybeans” mixed with some “tempeh starter” and that is all you need to make tempeh at home.  It is a natural process, so the ingredients know just how to react with each other to produce a white cake with gray and black specks.  Good eating.

Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme could work miracles with this.  Then they too could save the planet and lead the world to plant-based nutrition.  Tempeh jambalaya is marvelous.

Tempeh is a wonderful high protein food consisting of heat softened soybeans infused with a fungus – Rhizopus Oligosporus – and converted by this mycelium culture into firm, chewy, deliciously edible food.  Ancient Indonesians developed the process and in Southeast Asia it remains a common entree and major protein food source.  Steamed, broiled, baked, fried and served in chunks, slabs, flakes or ground, tempeh is an exquisite gourmet delicacy and low in cost even if you buy it already made.  Burgers, barbecues, stews, loaves, cutlets, stir fries all beg for tempeh as the major ingredient.     

The consummate expert on this process is the Tempeh Lady, Vickie Montaigne, who lives at The Farm in Tennessee.  She advises you need a 4 quart cooking pot, large clean cotton terry towel, measuring spoon, metal mixing spoon, large mixing bowl, room thermometer and tempeh container such as a very clean cake pan or plastic bags with holes punched at regular intervals because everything live needs oxygen to survive and grow.  You can’t proceed without 2 ½ cups of hulled dry split soybeans, 1 teaspoon of tempeh starter and 2 tablespoons of vinegar such as Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother….

You are going to cook the split soybeans one hour at a bubbling boil, skimming off most of the skins which rise to the top.  After draining of the water, you will squeeze and knead the cooked soybeans in the towel until they are dry of their surfaces and then put them in a dry bowl.  When they have cooled down to your skin temperature and a little lower, add the vinegar and mix it very well so that every soybean has been reached.  Then add the tempeh starter powder and again mix very well.  Now, lightly pack the mixture about ½ inch deep in pan or bags and incubate.

Tempeh was originally incubated between leaves in Indonesia where days and nights are quite warm.  It makes at 85 degrees Fahrenheit and so you must have a draft-free space where the tempeh can incubate.  A box with a light bulb, Styrofoam containers, pans in pans in a warm closet, attic, on or near your home heating boiler or possibly on or under your water heater or near a wood or coal burning stove… it’s up to you to figure out where the tempeh can rest and grow undisturbed and warm for 26-30 hours.  Safety ought to be your primary concern.  When you have mastered the process, you will know what kind of tempeh making space you want and can design it to suit budget and aesthetic taste.

Tempeh is as much fun and every bit as romantic as breadmaking, so perhaps you will begin a tempeh entrepreneurship and build the best processing system earth has ever seen.  Opportune markets would be schools, hospitals and nursing care homes to serve children and seniors – whose immune systems are fragile – and who need real wholesome nutritious human food lovingly prepared, delivered, cooked and served in all those favorite recipes including tempeh pot pie, tempeh and dumplings, tempeh loaf, tempeh cutlets, skillet blackened reddened tempeh with collard greens, soymilk sopped and flour rolled crisply fried tempeh fingers, broiled tempeh steaks covered with mushrooms and onions or soy cream gravy, tempeh cacciatore, tempeh jambalaya, tempeh with greens and sweet potatoes over brown rice, sweet and sour tempeh, tempeh tacos, tempeh burritos, tempeh chalupas, tempeh enchiladas, tempeh mole, tempeh drumsticks, tempeh lasagna, tempeh balls in tomato sauce, pickled tempeh, tempeh sauerbraten, sea-tempeh cocktail, tempeh waffles, waffles covered with chipped tempeh in white or brown soy cream gravy, tempeh and turnip cous cous tangine with collard greens, tempeh filled crepes, tempeh stuffed mushrooms, tempeh pate, soft or crisp tempeh grated or served as chunky croutons in salads or tempeh strips with scrambled tofu….  Give them anything they like, the Godfather of American soybean culture Henry Ford might have said, so long as it is tempeh!  The mycelium for the millennium.

It’s alright  if you just want to make tempeh for yourself.  The tempeh revolution throughout society can be carried out by others for awhile longer.  Until you have mastered and relish it in most every form, there’s no requirement that you become a tempeh missionary.  No need to lose all your current friends at once.  However, when word leaks out that you can make tempeh, look out for new found popularity.  Though probably no one you now know will sit quietly beside you while a batch incubates the full 30 hours, there will be a tomorrow and don’t be surprised if very long tempeh parties start occurring at your home.  Rent or buy lots of vegan cooking demonstration videocassettes to view while waiting for the mycelium to do its work.  Soon you will have bypassed Betty Crocker’s faded fame and become a tempeh celebrity, or at lease a local cause celebre’ with real skill in nutritious food making de la tempeh.

Eventually, you will learn how to incorporate quinoa, amaranth, teff, millet, barley, wheat and perhaps other grain and lentils in special Epicurean tempeh batches.  For now, though, it is important to take that first step in the long tempeh march and make your first small batch.  Starter will cost US$3.50 for enough to make six pounds or $14.00 for a supply to make 50 pounds.

You can get started today by calling  931-964-3574, asking for the Tempeh Lady and ordering your first package of Tempeh Starter by telephone (have that valid credit card ready) or by mail addressed to:  Tempeh Lady, The Tempeh Lab, Box 208, Summertown, Tennessee 38483.    

    VEGAN ORGANIC NETWORK

VON

Growing Green is a new start-up journal scheduled for publication, three issues per year commencing in spring 2000, by the global VEGAN ORGANIC NETWORK based at Anandavan, 56 High Lane, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, M21 9DZ, UK TEL:  0161 860 4869  EMAIL:  vohan@net-work.co.uk  WEBSITE:  www.veganvillage.co.uk  Knowledge Share:  vegan-organic@listbot.com.   David and colleagues are the organizers of this new initiative which is growing out of the worldwide interest in veganic-organic horticulture spawned by their already established organization VOHAN.  Interest and support are needed.  Subscriptions, participation and contributions of lucid text for publication are invited.

The VON/VOHAN logo is a small yellow circle in a large green V on a field of blue in an enclosing circle rimmed with green.  It is available for labeling of vegan food products in the United Kingdom and any other country where purity standards can be assured.  VOHAN and VON stand against agricultural use of human and fellow creature manures and synthesized chemicals while standing for clean natural food production which is healthy for land, sea, air, fellow creatures and human beings.

VEGETARIAN RESOURCE CENTER VEGAN BOOKS

Free UPS shipping is provided by VRG on book orders of US$25.00 and above.  Smaller orders require a $3.00 charge.  And here are the good books for vegans and those who want to try vegan cuisine recommended by VRG co-directors Debra Wasserman and Charges Stahler and colleagues:

CalciYum! ($22.00)  __, Conveniently Vegan ($15.00) __ , Cookbook for People Who Love [Fellow Creatures] ($12.00) __ , Cooking with PETA ($17.00) __, Delicious Jamaica ($14.00) __, Diet for A New America ($16.00) __, Fabulous Beans ($12.00) __, Flavors of India ($15.00) __, Guide to Fast Food ($4.00) __, Guide to Food Ingredients ($4.00) __, Guide to Natural Food Restaurants ($16.00) __, Guide to Vegetarian Restaurants in Israel ($5..00 Special Sale Price) __, I Love [Fellow Creatures] and Broccoli Activity Book ($5.00) __, Leprechaun Cakes & Other Tales ($10.00) __, Lighten Up! (14.00) __, Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook ($15.00) __, Meatless Meals for Working People ($12.00) __, Millennium Cookbook ($24.00) __, Natural Lunchbox ($15.00) __, New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook ($12.00) __, No Cholesterol Passover Recipes ($9.00) __, Nonna’s Italian Kitchen ($17.00) __, Pasta East to West ($17.00) __, Peaceful Palate ($15.00) __, Power of Your Plate ($14.00) __, Pregnancy, Children & the Vegan Diet ($12.00) __, Quantity Recipe Packet [Vegan Recipes of Group and Institutional Feeding] ($15.00) __, Race Against Junk Food ($12.00) __, Simple Soybean and Your Health ($15.00) __, Simply Vegan ($13.00) __, Soup’s On ($13.00) __, Soups to Nuts Coloring Book ($3.00) __, Table for Two ($15.00) __, Taste of Mexico ($15.00) __, Tofu Cookery ($18.00) __, Tofu & Soyfoods Cookery ($15.00) __, Tofu Tollbooth ($17.00) __, Uncheese Cookbook ($14.00) __, Vegan Handbook (20.00) __, Vegan Kitchen ($12.00)  _, Vegan Nutrition Pure and Simple ($12.00) __, Vegan Vittles ($14.00) __, Vegetarian Cats and Dogs ($17.00) __, Vegetarian Cooking for People with Allergies ($15.00) __, Vegetarian Female ($15.00) __, Vegetarian No-Cholesterol Barbecue Cookbook ($12.00) __, Vegetarian Game – a 3.5 computer disk ($10.00) __, Vegetarian Journal Reports ($6.00 Special Sale Price) __, Vegetarian Sourcebook ($13.00) __, Vegetarian Traveler ($18.00) __, and Vegetarian Way ($27.00) __. 

    

Spaces following each entry are provided for your convenience in ordering these best-of-the-literature selections from Vegetarian Resource Group, Box 1463, Baltimore, Maryland 21203 TEL:  410-366-VEGE  EMAIL:  vrg@vrg.org   WEBSITE:  www.vrg.org

THANKS TO AUTHORS, EDITORS, PUBLISHERS, DISTRIBUTORS

IPBN staff and friends express gratefulness to authors, editors, publishers and distributors of vegan books.  Add booksellers and stocking librarians to the list of those to be thanked and praised.  There is a vegan literature and it is growing beautifully.  The appropriate word to note this progress is Selah!  Hurrah!  It is not easy to write or edit, typeset, bind, package, ship and hope for market approval.  This is high risk activity which only the brave and truly talented survive.  Critics galore and chance can seem to be working against those who dare to express truths and values in writing.  So we need to revere, honor and help our vegan team members who get out the word through books.  IPBN is encouraging authors, editors and publishers to use the term vegan on the covers of their books which are in fact vegan in philosophy and detail.  Dare they?  Those who have done this so far appear to have satisfactory sales.  This strategy can advantageously differentiate 100% pure vegan books from the mass of others and assist consumers, booksellers and librarians.  No book is perfect; sometimes an excellent one will have a tiny error or inconsistency.  It is incoherencies which caring authors fear.  Ever tolerant vegans understand and allow these.  However, it does help those who produce books for readers to report errors discovered and make principled suggestions based on vegan values.  Last issue,  PLANT-BASED NUTRITION listed vegan books available through The Mail Order Catalog (800-695-2241).  The next two issues will list those available from the American Vegan Society and North American Vegetarian Society.  Assisting other vegan organizations and all vegan enterprises is an IPBN mission.  Enjoy!              

  

   

        

AMERICA THE BOUNTIFUL

This is a great land on which people truly enjoy abundance.  From Atlantic to the Pacific, and shore to mountain tops, there is food aplenty for the people and fellow creatures and other lifeforms.  This is a land of plenty.  America the beautiful is bountiful.

North America is a rich continent.  The peoples are advanced in many ways.  In terms of food production, America is a cornucopia.  Canada, Mexico, the United States and the island nations which surround the larger land mass provide a range of climates – arctic to tropical, coastal and inland – in which essentially all the food plants of the world can be grown.  Bounteous harvests provide food, fiber and fuel in quantities sometimes exceeding the human population’s ability to consume them all.  Not only does it feed itself, this contemporary America also exports foods and other products to Central and South America, Afro-Eurasia, Australia and islands everywhere around the globe.  To a considerable extent, America feeds the world.

American edible plant crops abound.  Food is so plentiful that storage and transportation networks are strained to hold and deliver it all.  Grains, lentils, vegetables of every sort, fruits, nuts and seeds are field grown almost year around in the many climates of North America.  In controlled climates inside built structures, still more crops are grown and harvested:  from bean sprouts under boards under bricks submerged in urban basement troughs to cucumbers and tomatoes on trellises and lettuces and herbs in soil cubes under huge expanses of glass in commercial greenhouses heated with recycled heat from electrical generating and industrial food processing plants – and trays of wheatgrass and still other seed sprouts thriving in jars, cloth bags, under grow lights and in windows of suburban home kitchens.  America feeds its people, others in many countries and despite expanding world population there is yet surplus edible plant food.

Americans work to produce food bounty.  The American food production system is the most productive in the world.  American plant food farmers are amazingly efficient as are their teammates the productive American harvesters, packers, truckers, brokers, processors, canners, freezers, dryers, packagers, labelers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and health conscious nutritionally educated increasingly sophisticated consumers.  This system works.  Amazingly.  Wonderfully.  It recycles wastes, feeds those who are unfortunate here and around the world, maintains massive quantities of food in storage for contingencies and produces more foods of greater diversity every successive year.  There has never in history been anything like this giant called the American edible plant human food production system.

Unfortunately, this system is not perfect – and never will be.  Imperfection is a driver which makes continual progress and constant change possible.  Realism requires observers to look at the marvelous successes of this food production system, but also at the problems associated with this

turn of the century American food surplus generating machine.  The adaptive changes it has made over the past three and a half centuries may indicate what modifications will occur in the future and how they may manifest.  The story is complex, its intricacies cannot be easily described.  Understanding may be possible if different aspects and sectors of the system are observed, one at a time, and analyzed.  Surely it is better to try to comprehend this intriguing plant-based nutrition-centered system than to merely take its bounty for granted.

Vegetable seeds constitute an interesting case in the bountifulness story.  There was an expansion in their varieties and availability for centuries as each region of the world shared its unique seeds with others.  Then, in the late 1900s, a few companies secured a virtual monopoly over commercial vegetable seed – and at the same time a revolutionary movement developed to save, and back breed, to restore before they were lost, great numbers of so-called heirloom seeds – the vast majority of seeds which would not interest monopolists.  Here a strong negative trend was counterbalanced to some degree by another which represents its reverse.  Over and again, whenever centralized power has attempted to control America’s food supplies, contrary energies have arisen to maintain balance and preserve variety.  In a more recent series of events, a few companies have attempted gain control by patenting genes and intruding them into food plants as in the recent case whereby some scorpion poison generating genetic matter was injected into a benign plant gene series to make the host plant and its fruit toxic for insects.  “Monster” seeds have been rejected by so many astute communicative people that a wave of rejection has swept through the seed and food industry to the effect that the largest processor of grains and beans has had to require that farmers label every load of production as “genetically modified” or “not-genetically modified” and many of this processor’s corporate customers are imposing the same standard so that a two-tier market is developing which will pay more for “non-gm” and less for “gm” products.

In another case, sewer sludge has similarly been determined by what might be called veganomic forces or common sense to be unacceptable fertilizer for human food plants.  Power will likely continue to attempt to slip sludge in when and where citizens are not looking, but they will be caught and reprimanded in the old fashioned American style of thwarting deceptive and pretender authority.  Meanwhile, advocates of small-scale humanure usage are demonstrating how the natural process can produce more and better quality food.  In the end, sooner or later, all human by-products must be integrated into the earth’s ecology.  Just how, when and where is being debated.

Farm labor presents another example where perfection has not yet been achieved.  Nevertheless, it is experiencing real improvements in working conditions, economic and educational opportunities though it is not overall as well educated or hygienically sophisticated as it can, should and will be.  Farm laborers, yet at work somewhere in America this very hour, plant, tend, harvest, pack and deliver edible plan foods from production to consumption sites unceasingly.  They deserve to be honored and thanked frequently for their important work.  The system cannot function or thrive without these friends of everyone who do what needs to be done at the right time, well and who are a basic cause of its bountifulness.  Farm workers will continue to play essential roles in food production.  Over past years their cheap labor has helped keep food costs low and supplies bountiful.  Increasingly, they are being more fairly paid and cared for.  Because of them, many more people have food.  Without them the system would collapse and many would starve.

Bountifulness excites the greedy and those who concoct schemes for extracting other people’s earnings for themselves without real work.  Scams proliferate and tax collectors rejoice.  Taxation of agricultural land and improvements is often unfair and so many farmers collapse economically each year and many family farms which should be saved are mercilessly forced into Sheriff sales every season.  With fewer than a million Americans living on a farm, and economic pressures suggesting that as many as half these will be forced out in the relative near future, the situations can seem tragic and in millions of cases truly are.  What the “pity the poor farmers” message often masks, however, is critical thinking regarding the categories of who’s going broke, who isn’t and why?  At least half of all farmers can be considered to be doing well.  Non-plant based nutrition-centered farmers tend to be in the most financial trouble. Others, the fruit, vegetable, herb and seed producers can barely keep up with demand.  Those producing plants for nutraceuticals are expanding plantings fast and still lag way behind demands.  On the other hand, commodity quality grain and bean producers are playing a form of poker game to chase away the smaller less efficient producers and thus amass fewer but larger production units which use the latest technologies.  For instance, though he may not be profiting in the short term, one mid-western farmer borrowed to double his land holdings from five to ten square miles while at the same time installing ten one mile diameter center point computer-controlled irrigation systems which he direct from his office where the employees total himself, one relative who serves as bookkeeper, and his wife who rides high day and night high and dry in the sophisticated driver cab of a $160,000.00 ultra-modern tractor with access to telephone, radio and television.  Yes, he is technically losing money by overproducing grains, but the media reports of farm family tragedies and low market values which seem awful are playing into his hands because they ensure that governmental assistance checks will be more frequent and larger.  It’s a game of moving assets from others into his pockets and he understands its every detail.  He knows exactly what he is doing and why.  If he can survive, his family will own twice as much land as his father had and, though “land poor” as so many farmers are, in terms of net worth he will be rich.  He has probably bought lots of life insurance.  Win or lose, this university trained agro-business oriented food producer is growing commodity grain crops in new ways which is exactly what he wishes to do.  Whether they acknowledge it or not, he and many others are trying to drive out competition by overproducing.  It is a dangerous strategy, but he has tolerance for high risk.  Indeed, it excites him.  Manic?  Of course.  In his community farmers are called “gamblers.”  He’d rather lose and die trying than give up his dream of being a big farmer.  Across the plains, suicides and the slower diet and stress related deaths are bountiful as both those who live, and others who do not, are swept into a frenzy of over leveraging assets which are concurrently shrinking in value.  Sometimes they even break the local bank.  This is an end game which produces bountiful tragedy and surplus cheap food for America and the world.  Though fewer survivors are present following each cyclic round, is no shortage of survivors willing to try it one more time.

In a coexisting different American agriculture, at the same time as the number and size of organic and veganic farms are increasing in number and producing ever more edible bounty good for humans and the planet, large industrial size corporate agriculture is simultaneously increasing which is technologized and chemicalized as never before.  Therefore, American agricultural dynamics are both positive and negative at this historical stage.  It takes careful analysis to keep up with who is winning and why, “who’s on first…” and “who’s out” or soon will be.

The geniuses who gave America DDT and methyl bromide toxins and anhydrous ammonia fertilizer can never sleep for their place in the food production world keeps changing.  Quality is in and quantity is not the attraction it has been.  Ordered by governmental edicts, attempting to improve their image and perhaps even save lives, agro-chemical companies are changing their names to add ecology related symbolism as they race competitively away from harmful toxins toward those milder, organic, ecological or natural and more selective. The term natural is in vogue, nevermind that if it can exist it is natural.  For the “persistent poison” makers, hastening even faster away from human toxins would be beneficial to public heath now and in future generations.  They are under great pressure to hasten and keep hastening for many farmers are buying fewer and less of their products as the wave toward sustainable, natural, organic and veganic agriculture rolls on.  Changing needs and demands keep the toxin teams of agro-chemists, biologists and botanists on their toes.  If they tarry, they could be left behind.

Seeking more than a fair share of bounty, some corporate crop seed producers became confused and followed genetic modification pathways for which public support does not exist and cost themselves fortunes as well as antagonized health conscious consumers.  It seems like grain and legume farmers have become too efficient for their own good, producing excessive surpluses which the system cannot absorb and thereby driving down their own commodity prices to points below production costs.  Enigmas prevail.  For example, just when surplus grains and beans are at all time low prices, those who prefer imported non-renewable petroleum derived methanol to fuel their vehicles continue to argue and lobby successfully against American-produced ethanol which is made from renewable annual crops; alas, Brazil is or has been – the largest consumer of American ethanol; nonsense prevails in this economically basic matter wherein Americans work against their own interests and thus pile up debt and pollution when both could be reduced.

At the very same time, vegetable, fruit, nut and herb farmers cannot keep up with increasing demands for high quality produce as Americans shift back to healthier lifestyles in which more and more of these precious human foods are consumed.  The markets for really good food are growing.  There are yet not enough organically or veganically grown peaches and dates, merely two examples, to meet market demands – wholesale and retail prices are sky high and consumers are pleased as never before to have these quality foods.

Specialty crops are the most profitable and commodity crop profits have slipped below the producer survival line for many if not most farm game players.  Why then don’t commodity farmers shift into specialty crops?  They do, many every day and there will be more.

For individual and family commodity producers, the end may appear at any time.  Banks call loans, equity dissolves in market slumps and creditor attorneys and sheriffs are kept busy conducting “farm sales.”  For their corporate competitors, however, there is plenty of cheap capital from diverse sources to continue enlarging their holdings indefinitely.  Every day, a higher percentage of American food bounty is produced by corporate farms.  Change occurs too swiftly for many independent farmers and they are destroyed economically then forced to migrate toward urban centers where they and their family members become laborers.

Adaptation by both specialty and commodity crop producers has not kept pace with market realities and those too slow to change are being swept away in a new “American Tragedy” associated with the demise of some farm traditions.  Many farmers are giving up technologies they were taught at agricultural school.  A few are trying direct marketing.  Far markets are springing up everywhere.  Some dairies have converted to making soy cheese and others are marketing orange juice.  Some family farms are selling produce directly to consumers using the internet.  Perhaps a few farm fathers have begun to eat scrambled tofu and soysage for breakfast in addition to taking a daily regimen of vitamins while some farm mothers are making wheat meat and soy meal dinner entrees, serving organically grown peanut butter and fruit preserve sandwiches on multigrain breads for lunch, and some farm children are breakfasting on unsweetened wholegrain cereals with rice milk and insisting on more greens at the local school cafeterias while restaurants are shifting inventories and menus to reflect healthier food choices in this new different more organized America which is aborning.  Changes are occurring in America’s bountiful food production and consumption system  Ancient health maintaining alternatives are termed new.  Bountiful America is becoming quality and nutrition conscious as never before.  In this milieu, challenges and magnificent opportunities abound for veganic entrepreneurs.

Across this bountiful land, as many as two out of three meals a day are being eaten in restaurants where plant-based nutrition is being revived.  Cross country travel reveals there have been some changes made.  The standard American diet prevails, SAD is still available and its effects are apparent to the casual traveler.  The words “vegan” and “vegetarian” are no longer strange sounding.  “I know, “ says a typical waitress, “my husband is vegetarian – he runs the local produce market – and my son is vegan – he’s doing a science project on chlorophyll and plans to go to the state university and major in environmental science.”  “I’m not a vegetarian,” says another, “but the cook is.  He’s vegan, from Tunis in Tunisia.”  “Sure,” says a young maitre’d in an upscale urban restaurant, “everything we serve is vegan.  That’s the best, isn’t it?”  In America’s gigantic industry, the $1,000,000,000.00+ a day restaurant and food service entrepreneurialism, standards are rising, quality food choices are expanding, staff education and collaboration is increasing.  It is boom time for this industry, cash is flooding in and people are demanding better and better food selections.  Fast food merchandisers are scrambling to keep up with the growing healthy food interests of their customers.  One shrewd corporate structure is developing ethnic restaurants which do not use its well known nutritionally tarnished name….  Its bigger and better vegan bean and rice burrito is appealing and profitable.  Vegan chefs galore are evolving – they turn bountiful food into culinary art.  Culinary Arts schools teach vegetarian and vegan cooking.  Soon there will be numerous notable veganic culinary chef preparation institutions.  Their seeds have been planted.

Americans generally know how to eat well  – and poorly, but especially how to eat great quantities.

Sadly, Americans are too often fat.  Bountifully fat people experience difficulties for which their bodies were not designed.  Pellagra, goiter, rickets and scurvy have given way to the new malnutrition, obesity, which is a prevalent disease today.  The hungry nutritionally deprived malnourished of early 20th century America have disappeared and been replaced in the last half of this century by predominately overweight people.  There are some huge jelly fat carcasses walking around which suffer incredibly the full range of artery and heart disease, cancer, kidney and liver and gall bladder and pancreas ailments, digestive and urinary tract irritations and blockages, joint pains and self-destruction along with skin problems and breathlessness.  Throw in caffeine, nicotine and other drug dependencies along with sedentary lifestyles and non-holistic non-spiritual worldviews and there appears to be bountiful sickness in America of types and on a scale never before observed.  America the bountiful typically eats too much and continues to consume too many non-food substances too often.  Illness is shockingly bountiful.  Ambulance services, doctors and morticians are kept too busy by unnecessary heart disease, diabetes, cancer and all the other maladies which trail along with non-plant based nutrition and compulsive overeating.

There is hope – at least for those who will heed commonsense, leave non-food products on grocery store shelves and push away from the dining table before gluttony has control – for not only are many producers providing more and better foodstuffs, the community natural food product health stores which began in America with Philadelphia’s Martindale’s in 1847 and the copycat whole foods oriented and local produce vending mid-sized personalized supermarkets are expanding exponentially.  In their second century of progress, these institutions are helping citizens learn how their bodies work and how to service them better.  The network of wholesalers which serves these local outlets for health related products is well developed nationally.  Locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, food systems are integrated as never before.  “You can get anything you want,’ not just at Alice’s Restaurant, but from tens of thousands of producers and vendors who provide bounteousness beyond Alice’s most optimistic dream – she enjoyed few of today’s food options.

Why this American bounteousness has developed has multiple explanations.  It didn’t just happen.  There has been an evolution with advances and setbacks.  Many interesting characters have woven this cloth.  Their lives have been elements in the drama. And, whether a particular actor is viewed as hero or devil depends on the agendas of both the tellers and listeners.  Veganic advancement seems unlikely to have origins in governmental bureaucracies, for they are very rarely praised for anything of this sort, and yet the current level of plant based nutrition in America the bountiful enjoys some real benefits because of the vision and persistence of some of the people who have chosen to work for the common good inside federal agencies.

No little of American bountifulness can be credited to one little-known federal department which, by the way, operates a vast university with the largest enrollment in the world in addition to supporting a network of land-grant universities in most every state.  For all its critics and flaws, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the 19th and early 20th century leaders who founded and developed it, deserve recognition and praise for their work in bringing quality foods to the American table. But for USDA, the much revered carrot would not be what it is.  USDA has often been a positive change agent in a society not exactly eager to learn new ways.  The USDA model of innovation, laboratory research, field testing, demonstration plots and organization by interest of farmers and farm youths in 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America chapters is a part of United States history insufficiently appreciated.  This integrative model has been tested and adjusted over 130 years and has been copied by the major countries of the world.  Its concept of building communities of producers and consumers, innovating through demonstrations at agricultural research stations in every state, and educating everyone in the network has been a successful formula which has been accepted by and thereby integrated Canada and Mexico with the United States in a variety of ways.  Unfortunately, sometimes USDA has been too successful as in the cases whereby non-plant based nutrition was expanded following World Wars One and Two, its School Lunch Program commenced with the best intentions but then turned from health goals to the getting rid of surplus commodities aim, and it was extremely slow to adapt to the organic movement as well as the “small is beautiful” counterpoint movement which has demonstrated increased productivity of vegetables, fruits and herbs on small farms.  That USDA has had failures and not all its efforts have been beneficial cannot detract from its overall success.  In every state, each county has at least one USDA Agent and these experts not only can demonstrate effective plant food production techniques farmer education workshops, they actually do it in observable field demonstration plots.  Any history of the United States is incomplete without honorable mention of the humble County Agent and the USDA.  Whatever its flaws, USDA is continually improving its services, does serve the people, and in more ways than can be described.  America produces largess.  This would surely not have happened without USDA.

Also, it must be mentioned, the Food And Drug Administration, which works in tandem with USDA, has not done everything wrong.  FDA rules and regulations save lives daily and ensure health in infinite ways.  The Environmental Protection Agency begs for changes and improvements which a plant-based economy based on plant-based nutrition would naturally effect.  There appears to be no better way EPA.  Even Pentagon military leaders keep an eye on nutrition and support scientific food and nutrition research continually at laboratories at Nattick, Massachusetts.  It is not by accident that they have millions of plant-based meals-ready-to-eat MRE packages stored and that millions of these have been recently deployed both to test them and to demonstrate their practicality.   NASA, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, gives respect to greens and other health sustaining foods in some of its projects – sprouts in space are a reality.  Further, today Senators and Representatives, judges and generals, admirals, bureaucrats, laboratory technicians and astronauts take vitamin and mineral supplements along with doctors, nurses, school superintendents, neighborhood pharmacists and just about everyone else.  It wouldn’t take much of a nudge for things to change massively away from the prevalent problematical diet to one centered on plant-based nutrition and aimed toward healthfulness.

That there has been a revolution is nutritional supplementation is an understatement.  From mortar and pestle ground herbs and spices termed medicines to Polish scientist Casimir Funk’s innovative new term “vita-mines” to denote “essential food amines” or “nitrogenous substances”, to the subsequent “discovery” of Vitamin A by Americans in 1913, to Funk’s classic 1922 book The Vitamins after he learned they were not all nitrogenous, to the non-scientific, pseudo-professional peer squabbling over Dr. Linus Pauling’s research indicating a little vitamin C is good – more is better – and double-helix shaped DNA actually exists, to the shelves of pills and tablets observed in health product stores, groceries and pharmacies – it has been nothing less that a vitaminic conceptual revolution.  Worldwide.  All this has happened amidst resistance, railing and gnashing of teeth, bureaucratic dallying, bankruptcies and ruined careers.  The concept of “essential foods” including vitamins and others has not only become accepted.  It is helping people improve their health and lives.  Wouldn’t Funk, Pauling and all the other farsighted pioneers be pleased by these verifications of their work?  Now it is again being realized, food is medicine and a wave of new terms is clarifying that concept.  Nutraceuticals.  Phytochemicals.  Phytonutrients.  People who eat non-food substances, and real foods poorly prepared, can boost their resistance to diseases and stamina through nutritional supplementation including essential minerals and vitamins.  It seems so simple and undebatable, but progress to this sector of bountifulness has taken centuries and this enlightenment has probably only just begun.  Many who were not so popular when they told truth deserve credit for moving knowledge forward.  Bountiful America can become vastly much healthier – and will.  It’s just a matter of time, patience, persistence and education.

Many doctors have made good use of plant-based nutrition knowledge and their numbers are growing bountifully.  Laboratory scientists often shop after work at their neighborhood health food store.  Coaches and athletes, being performance oriented, have been among the first and most positive respondents to plant based nutrition and mineral and vitamin supplementation.  Actors need to look good and perform efficiently; they are quite often well versed on plant-based nutrition and its bountiful positive results in their careers.  That plant based nutrition is used to the benefit of rich and famous should be no surprise, where there is less bountifulness, however, in low-income communities where low levels of education and low attainment prevail, a health food store is unlikely to be found, nor are the most healthful foods likely to be either available or the preferred choices.  Native American reservations are unlikely sites for health food enterprises, nor is plant based nutrition prevalent – though there are some wonderful exceptions and will be more. There is bountiful opportunity to educate, nourish and see the results further energize American bountifulness.  It’s just a matter of getting from one place in understanding to another on a higher plane.  This process has been done well many times before.  Where there’s a will there’s a way and will seems to be growing.  A healthier America will be more bountiful.   

Food quality laws began in Germany in the early 1500s when beer brewing standards – and penalties – were set in law.  Scientific agriculture also began in Germany in the late 1700s when chemists discovered that every plant requires nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in order to grow. [NPK]  Long before that seminal moment, great cultures grew great crops; but, their agriculturalists didn’t know exactly why the rice grains were larger sometimes or potato vines shriveled and died.  Now it is commonly known that in addition to these three mineral basic minerals there are many other essentials needed by growing plants.  Calcium.  Magnesium.  Iron.  Copper.  Zinc.  Molybdenum.  The list continues to expand.  Perhaps each plant and creature will in the end be found to need some small portion of every one of the chemical elements like the seawater from whence it appears humans and fellow creatures developed and which in tiny quantities or contained in seaweed fertilizers can help gardens grow.  Nor, until it was scientifically demonstrated in scientific experiments did typical farmers and gardeners understand that rainwater splashes soil bacteria onto the lower leaves of plants and commences the destructive sequence which progresses from bacterial to fungal to insect invasion.  And having developed unnatural chemical antidotes for each of these natural terrors, plant chemists have discovered that plants themselves produce defensive toxins which invaders strike.  Further, it turns out, that plants grown close together respond positively and some produce more when interplanted with certain others.  Strange as it seems, but indicative of the depths to which soil scientists are now plumbing, a recent  revelation in California has farmers chopping broccoli stalks and plowing them under to become natural chemical destroyers of the lifeforms harmful to their next crop.  Further, from Canada to New Jersey, rapeseed – called canola in North America for obvious reasons – can be plowed under quickly following maturation and then will release natural cyanide into the soil which costs less and appears to be as effective as the former practice of spraying industrial chemicals to deter problematic organisms.  For all they’ve done wrong, agricultural chemists have helped boost human plant food production and deserve credit for the good they have done.  America would be less bountiful had these contributors never existed.  They, their mistakes and contributions, help make the future for bountiful America vastly better.

Lest they be forgotten, the rarely heard of commercial seed growers and horticulturists, fruit propagators with their sharp pruning knives, linen cord and waxes have also been members of the great team of scientific and systematic agriculturalists who have given Americans more foods of greater variety and higher quality than humans have ever before enjoyed.

Agricultural engineers have figured out ways of irrigating which have reclaimed much of the world’s formerly unproductive lands and simple mechanics from Cyrus McCormick and Eli Whitney have helped enable America to get rid of slavery and progressively develop mechanical harvesting and processing equipment to make human work lighter and move toward ending the usage of fellow creatures on farms.  Modern blueberry and cranberry picking machines are wonders which gently remove berries from stems, size, screen, wash, dry, pack and label these small fruits for trucking directly to market without being touched by human hands.

Farm laborers, credited earlier, are yet at work somewhere in America this very hour.  They plant, tend, harvest, pack and deliver produce from production to consumption sites unceasingly and deserve to be honored and thanked frequently for their important work.  The knowledge and skills they have cannot be replaced by chemicals or machines.  Their essentiality cannot be overstated.

Healthcare personnel have made great advances and deserve to be honored for their openness to alternative healing therapies.  They are also heroic for adamantly standing on scientific ground and not being swept away by every headline, so-called research report and authoritative pronouncement.  People die in hospitals and some medicines aren’t best for the patient or particular ill.  It cannot be denied, however, that medical professionals save lives and help people become healthier.  They do it every day and often in less than desirable circumstances.  Everyone in healthcare needs to be up to date on scientific nutrition knowledge and medical schools can do a better job of nutritionally educating doctors from now on.  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine organization has a plethora of practical projects to assist doctors be as great as they can be.  The Vegetarian Resource Group provides numerous publications, journals and monographs and books, which educate everyone including healthcare professionals.  The American Vegan Society and North American Vegetarian Society also provide literature of relevance to everyone including those concerned with healthcare as an occupation.  The American Dietetic Association publishes a position paper on vegetarian nutrition which every healthcare professional should have at their fingertips and review often.  Things have never been better in this sector so far as keeping babies and older people alive – and longer.  Bone and organ repair, part replacement and  wound stitching, have advanced considerably.  Medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, homeopathic doctors, naturopathic doctors, hygienic doctors, nurses, medical technicians, therapists, Rolf deep massage fascia therapists, herbalists, pharmacists and all the others in healthcare need the kind of compassion, love and praise plant-eater, phytophage, herbivore, vegans can share so generously.

Bountiful information is omnipresent, ubiquitous in America which has always engaged in the  culture of letters.  Though interpersonal correspondence may have declined, in its place have developed the biggest and best, most numerous and engagingly illustrated publicly accessible newspapers, magazines, journals, research reports, books, encyclopedia and other compendia, and even newsletters.  Television?  Computerized data banks?  Internet?  Telephone health information question and response systems?  It is easy to find information about almost anything and Americans are literate in ways new in history.  Some call this the “information society.”  In this vast ocean, healthcare and nutrition information are major currents which bathe every shore and swimmer.  Analytical skills are in short supply, however, and critical thinking skills are not practiced frequently enough.  Hoaxes can occur, and do, bountifully at times, in America where neither doctors or teachers as groups set examples of vigorous health easily distinguishable from lawyers or stockbrokers.  Nor can every bit of information be trusted; much if not most cannot even be verified in terms of its source and basis of authority.  Labeling regarding nutrition is loosely regulated though numerous agencies and public and private consortia constantly work at improving it.  One cannot necessarily believe what is heard or read or, as every magician knows, what is seen.  Bountiful America has a great deal of illusion mixed in with the materialism and media report and misreport it all.  “It all depends on the agenda” one senior doctor advised.  “When I was young and naïve,”  he says, “a research colleague and I experimented with the new antibiotic of the day on acne patients.  It couldn’t affect acne, that’s not caused by bacteria, but it did reduce the bacteria count associated with the acne and so patients looked and felt better.  The public relations department of our university heard about this study and decided to get some publicity for the institution.  We worked there.  We had to report our findings.  What a shock it was to read the headlines: ‘Antibiotic cures acne according to doctors ___and ___.’  It was embarrassing.  We understood that the university had many agendas and our carefully defined results were simply fodder to be twisted around to serve the agendas of others.”  Lo there are many agendas controlling information, disinformation and misinformation in America.  Wise are the bountifully skeptic.     

It wouldn’t be fair to describe all the contributors to American bountifulness and fail to mention those rarely mentioned such as soil which is absolutely vital.  Despite contrary rumors, it can be made, restored and improved to suit whatever plant needs to be grown and whatever climate.  Water is also essential and it can be purified and conserved.  Air is essential to people and plants and its self-cleansing capabilities should be better understood.  Soil organisms, from earthworms to microbes and ants to fungi, are crucial contributors to nutritious plant food productivity.  Insects deserve honor, for were there no beneficial insects the others would have total control and eventually nothing to eat.  Bountiful where cropping errors predominate, insects are also beautiful.  And not just European honeybees pollinate, so do wasps, ground bees, many other insects and the wind.  Fellow creatures large and small are essential elements in the planetary web of life, forests are living beings which collectively benefit all other life.  Any square inch of land surface in North America is teeming with millions of lifeforms too small to be seen by the human eye,  But every one of these has an important role to play which humans ought to respect.  Indeed, soil life is a metaphor for society as it contains endless variety, ever changes and sustains constant competition between forces for bad and good.  As in an American movie, after the characters are identified and compete, the chase and reconciliation have been done, good wins in the end.  Selah.     

Not yet has every farm been paved over for a parking lot, suburban tracts haven’t reduced food production or its quality even a little.  Healthy babies appear regularly and crime is down, at least in some sectors.  America has not gone to hell in a handbasket.  Yet?  It never has and won’t in the future.  Bountiful America is the goal of most people around the world.  No one, not even adversaries, wish for it to fail and it won’t, ever, unless it quits trying to improve itself, and its people and maintains the American dream of plenty to eat – and then some -for everyone.

Despite careless soil management and a host of other sins, America is a land of plentiful food and Americans can be selective regarding what and when they eat.  Supermarkets provide an incredible variety and quality of foods.  Specialty vendors offer unique products from every corner of the globe.  It is simply wonderful to contemplate America today in terms of food quality while reflecting on earlier times such as 1899 and 1799 and 1599 for comparison.  Foodwise, Americans have never had it so good.  Anyone anywhere in America can have any healthful food they want, pretty much at any time, because of this integrated supply system.  Tiny towns have quick delivery parcel service which can bring the freshest California greens and Maine potatoes to any front door within 24 to 48 hours.  Hawaiian pineapples and Mexican mangoes with Minnesotan wild rice and Canadian maple syrup are available via mail order, internet services and immediate response telephone requesters.  Sooner or later, most farmers will connect themselves somehow with these direct short-link producer-to-consumer food delivery systems, healthcare professionals will have become the health educators they were born to be, and then America the bountiful will have jelled as a self-sustaining human nutrition and health maintenance service the world will emulate.

 Peace and Love,

Jim and Dorothy Oswald

IPBN Co-Directors     

To experience the bountifulness of life and participate in veganomic expansion, contact for essentials:  The Mail Order Catalog for Healthy Eating, Box 180, Summertown, Tennessee 38483 TEL:  800-695-2241 (Weekdays 8 -6 CST);  PANGEA Vegan Products, 7829 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814  TEL:  800-340-1200  WEB:   www.pangeaveg.com; Heartland Footwear Products, Ltd., Box 250, Dakota City, Iowa 50529  TEL:  515-332-3087 and all the other friendly suppliers who are bringing true excellence to American bountifulness.    

*****

IPBN FIVE STAR

PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE AWARD

Dr. Richard Passwater is best of the best.  He deserves to receive the first IPBN Casimir Funk Professional Performance Excellence Award.  This honoree has led in the phytochemical-nutraceutical research and product development fields over many decades.  As research director for SOLGAR Laboratories in Leonia, New York, he has been a champion researcher-innovator.  A researchers’ researcher, he follows scientific rules of evidence, replicates studies systematically, maintains objective reporting standards sharing his findings with peers through published scientific papers and educates the public through published monographs which are readable, comprehensive, open to further advancements and professionally documented.  His work has assisted uncountable millions of vegans, vegetarians, hygienists and others to ensure adequate nutrition through the finest supplementation science can develop.  Everyone in the nutritional supplementation phytochemical and nutrochemical field keeps an eye on Dr. Passwater because he leads and succeeds.  He is also fair, open and pleasant as any friend can be.  No one deserves recognition for superior selfless professional performance excellence more than Richard Passwater, Ph.D.

MILLET PATTIES

In food processor put approximately 8 oz firm or extra firm tofu, ¾ cup water and 3 tsp Bragg’s Amino Liquid or other form of soy sauce and blend well until the mix is smooth.

Add:  ½ cup finely ground sunflower seeds; ½ cup finely ground buckwheat groats; 2 T vegetable bouillon; 2 T lecithin granules; 2 T nutritional yeast; 2 T soy powder; ½ tsp each dill seed and celery seed; ½ tsp each dill weed and basil – cut and sifted; ¾ tsp onion or garlic salt;  2 tsp onion  powder or granules; ¼ tsp each cayenne and turmeric; 1 cup bran (optional); 1 cup wheat germ (optional).  Process well and then blend with the tofu mixture

Cook ¾ cup millet in 2 1/4 cups water.  Set aside.  When still warm, stir in the previously prepared tofu mixture.  Mix well.  Add  1 ½  cups quick-cooking or regular oat flakes.  Mix well.  If too dry to handle easily, add a little water.  Cook mixture at least 20 minutes – or even overnight.

Shape mixture into balls, wetting hands as needed.  Flatten slightly.  Bake at 350 degrees F. about 20 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Eat.  Store in glass jars, plastic containers or bags.  Reheat as desired using a bit of water or oil in the pan – or broil briefly.

These are the genuine Cardiff, Ontario, Canada Millet Patties made exquisitely by IPBN friend, former high school English teacher and health food store co-owner Helen James, co-director of the Hastings-Haliburton Vegetarian Association – an IPBN ***** FIVE STAR EXCELLENCE ORGANIZATION which she and husband Tom co-founded and guide from 37 Pine Road, Cardiff, Ontario, Canada  KOLIMO TEL:  613-339-2789.  It is not possible to make these nutritional powerhouse patties quite as good as Helen’s originals.  But even with a few necessary adaptations to accommodate the local water and air, yours will be quite exceptional.  They are the best IPBN researchers have been able to find and have been described as “amazing,” “delicious,” “superb.” “awesome,” “nutrition packed” and “worth a thousand-mile drive just to taste one.”  Cornwall native and adapted Canadian Tom, by the way, can shovel snow all day with a few of these patties in him and that is very useful in Cardiff, north of Belleville, east of Toronto where it is known to snow all day and then some.  Helen reminds that “Millet is a most nutritious grain” and “very economical.”  One feels good after eating one, better still after two and a dozen a key to nirvana.

o O o

How terrible to lie in chains

And die in dungeons deep…

But it’s still worse when you are free

To sleep and sleep and sleep

And then forever close your eyes

And leave not even a trace

So that the fact you lived or died

No whit of difference makes!

Taras Shevchenko

Ukranian Poet

o O o

Dietary Guidelines – 1995 and the forthcoming Dietary Guidelines – 2000 can be obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, 1120 2oth Street N.W., Suite 200, North Lobby, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Citizen input to the USDA Dietary Guidelines 2000 Committee may be directed, according to the FEDERAL REGISTER of August 2, 1999, to:  Shanthy Bowman, Ph.D., USDA, Agricultural Research Service,  Nutrient Data Laboratory, Unit 89, Room 6D61, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, Maryland 20737.  IPBN has submitted its proposals in the form of CRITERIA FOR NUTRITIONAL GUIDELINES FOR CENTURY 21 which was issued in June.

The McDougall Newsletter  is an IPBN ***** FIVE STAR QUALITY INFORMATION SOURCE.  Subscriptions for the bi-monthly newsletter are US$24.00 in the United States and US$28.00 outside.  John and Mary McDougall keep readers up to date on nutrition related medical research.  They offer books, audio and videocassettes as well as invitations to participate in health education cruises (800-570-1654).  There is information about Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods (800-367-3844) which compete with so-called junk foods and are widely available in 7-l1 and other stores.  The McDougall Program at St. Helena Hospital is available for those needing medical supervision on the road to health (800-358-9195).  Dr. McDougall has public radio and television programs which can be presented in any locale.  He lectures widely and sometimes debates publicly those who advocate non-plant based nutrition.  All previous TMN issues are accessible at internet website http://www.drmcdougall.com and Dr. McDougall’s columns appear in health-related journals.  For subscriptions and information contact:  The McDougall Newsletter, Box 14039, Santa Rosa, California 95402 (707-576-1654 TEL  707-576-3313 FAX)    

The Viva Vine – the vegetarian-issues magazine, is available from VivaVegie Society, Inc., Box 294, Prince Street Station, New York, New York 10012-0005.  See www.earthbase.org/vivavegie/

ACROSS AMERICA WITH IPBN

Come along with us.  The car is packed.  On the road again. We’re heading west from Philadelphia, going out to see how things have changed since our last coast-to-coast drive in 1968 when we departed Stanford University and Palo Alto, California for a new home in Wheaton, Maryland and job in Washington, D.C.  We’ve been to the west coast twice in a year, to Seattle and Los Angeles and their environs.  From the plant eater perspective, things have vastly improved in those two regions.  Now, let’s look about the bountiful Midwest.…

Vegan Chinese food after a five hour drive to Somerset, Pennsylvania.  China Garden Chinese Restaurant.  Our favorite vegan menu selections.  Always good.

On next day to Columbus, Ohio and Worthington Foods in Worthington, a northern suburb, where Worthington and Loma Linda and Morningstar Farms and Harvest Burger and Hard Rock Cafe vegan and vegetarian products are manufactured of wheat and soybeans as they have been since a Seventh Day Adventist medical doctor started the company in the mid-1930s.  On the outskirts, headed west, vegan Italian food as fine as anywhere at Salvi’s Bistro west of town.

The most beautiful farms in America appear to be those in eastern Illinois as the old winding roads lead through Amish and Mennonite country to Decatur where Archer Daniels Midland grinds and  squeezes corn in one plant and soybeans in another to produce never ending streams of vegetable oils, most of the world’s extracted vitamin E, beverage alcohol and fuel ethanol (they add 5% gasoline to make it undrinkable), textured vegetable protein and waste heat in hot water from the coal fired steam powered co-generation facility which provides electricity for tens of thousands of ADM motors and warm greenhouses, maybe 20 acres of them, which grow lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and roses for people living in a 250 mile radius of this integrated operation.  Surprises?  There’s another similarly huge corn and soybean processing plant in Decatur, Talbot and Lyle, which is a British firm partially owned by ADM.   And almost all the feedstock corn and soybeans for these vast plants come from growers in a radius of about 250 miles.  Decatur is a classic industrial town with Firestone and Caterpillar factories.  It surrounds a beautiful lake and has lovely Victorian architecture at Millikin University which is small, quaint, up-to-date and brings students from around the world to its soybean and corn capital.  Our chat with James O. Watson, Ph.D., who chairs the Department of Economics and Finance in the Tabor School of Business convinced us that plant-based nutrition economics are not just figments of our imagination.  We enjoyed him, his professional colleague and students from afar seeing  how America’s food cornucopia heartland works.  Decatur hosts Guadalajara who offer superb vegan cuisine and cheerful service at the El Matador Restaurante Mexicano which is worthy of  ***** IPBN FIVE STAR EXCELLENCE ranking.  We ate three excellent meals with these friends.

University of Missouri at Columbia, atop dry hilly country where people cluster in standard suburbs and have access to a warm and cheerful health food store staff who’ve been working to  ring everything worthwhile to the locals at Clovers Natural Food with “Choices for a Better World.”  Yen Ching Chinese Restaurant and our old friend the Olive Garden Restaurant fed us well.  The UM College of Agriculture has a demonstration plot here with the standard mid-western crops:  corn and soybeans.

The University of Kansas at Lawrence is surely the most beautiful campus in the world.  Nestled on hills and in their valleys, it is invisible from anywhere except inside it – or flying over in an airplane.  The Civil War started here, they say, for this is a New England town built by Yankees to ensure that Kansas remained a free non-slave state.  When a military troop of Southerners burned every building in town and shot dead over 200 – every man and boy – tempers flared.  Wheatfields Bakery uses a wood-fired stone oven made in Spain and the breads are outstanding.  Z-TECA vegan burritos are the largest we have ever seen, reasonably priced and delicious.  Manager Jeff Groves sees to it that every customer is pleased and deserves an ***** IPBN FIVE STAR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE AWARD.  The Community Mercantile Co-Op dates back to 1974 and has a huge inventory.  Juice Stop blenders concoct superb fruit blends, with wheat grass juice and whatever else one wants that’s healthy.  MacDonald’s is testing its new Chipotle Mexican Grill fast foot outlets here and the vegan burritos are commendable.  Furr’s has a large cafeteria which provides 10 or more vegan dishes every day and the Panda Garden Chinese Restaurant offers 12 for starters.  The local Blimpie offers a vegan burger which is sure to become popular as it spreads to other outlets.  Lawrence is a vegan friendly town.  Why we are here is to see Pines International at Midland Junction north of town – which grows, dries and bottles wheat grass juice and other cereal grain products such as barley grass….  This is where it started when a UK professor of agriculture got carried away with the possibilities of cereal grasses as nutrients.  He discovered the maximum nutrient production is at the joint when the single grass blade branches into two.  Cut, squeeze and drink – or dry for later consumption – the wheat grass juice at this stage and it is prime.  Pines has donated millions of dollars worth of vegan products to poor and war ravaged survivors around the world.  They their harvest their organic wheat fields once each Spring, store the harvested and dried juice in special containers which exclude oxygen in underground limestone caves near Kansas City and package powders and tablets every weekday year around.  Surprise?  A local newspaper classified advertisement reads:  “Blackberries for sale or trade; 5 quarts for $20.00 or will trade for other vegetables and fruits.  Monica at ___-842-6148 after 8:00 p.m.   Nearby at Bonner Spring is the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, a museum which tells the history of American agriculture and USDA and 4-H and Future Farmers while providing an end-of-the 19th century farmstead and village.  Now we know who did what and why to give America the vast oversupply of agricultural products which keeps food prices relatively cheap.  Vegan heaven, because the USDA founders and leaders who laid the basis for plant-based nutrition are enshrined as heroes with their life stories described on plaques in this unique educational setting every American should visit.

Russell, Kansas is a very small town where travelers find plenty of vegan food options at the salad bar of the local gathering place – Meridy’s Restaurant and Lounge.  Every bite was fine, Sheilah Ogilvie the server-cook made us feel at home and desirous of returning.  She deserves and ***** IPBN FIVE STAR PERFORMANCE QUALITY AWARD.  Her simple delicious nutritious pasta salad was a treat for which we remain grateful.  We found vegan foods aplenty and ate our fill.  In the Taco Max parking lot we observed two ladies exchanging fresh greens they had presumably grown and harvested themselves.  Veganomic true value exchanges are at work most everywhere.  “One Kansas farm feeds 128 people plus you” a Highway 70 road sign says.

Denver, Colorado.  Old Santa Fe Restaurant offers excellent vegan cuisine.   Nearby Boulder’s new Sunflower Restaurant is one of those great places for the vegan and vegetarian providing world class ***** IPBN FIVE STAR QUALITY FOOD AND SERVICE and destined to survive and succeed with aplomb.  Co-Owner and experienced chef Jon Pell deserves an ***** IPBN FIVE STAR PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE AWARD as well and his co-owners Alison McDonald and Matt Snyder deserve kudos for their parts in developing this excellent restaurant where east merges into west as mountains meet plains.  Nearer the university, La Estrellita has excellent beans and can fashion any vegan delight desired.  Wild Oats and Whole Foods markets compete here to provide a vegan paradise.  Barnes and Noble Books personnel helped us do a little more research on native American edible amaranth.  Celestial Seasonings packages herbal teas in an ultra-hygienic modern plant just northeast of town.  Employees love the work just as much as we love the teas.  White Wave plants produce tofu, tempeh, seitan, soymilk and all those other healthy foods here.  Much to see for the traveling vegan.  We have journeyed 2,000 miles.

American Vegan Society Annual Conference:  what a great program Freya Dinshah…what splendid speakers – Howard Lyman, Robert Cohen, Steve and Chris McDiarmid, Jay Dinshah, Mar Nealson and many others…what nice people these friends who have gathered from about the continent to commune and share ideas about the good life…what delicious food Ron Pickarski…what fun living in a dormitory at the University of Colorado.…  But wait, you can be there with us and experience it all in your own home if you quickly order the full set of 10  (including seven multiple-lecture and three multiple-cooking demonstration) videocassettes from AVS which will ship them via UPS to your door.  Call your credit card order to 856-694-2887 or send a check in the mail for US$69.00 payable to AVS at Box 369, Malaga, New Jersey 08328.  A tremendous conference.  You will enjoy every presentation just as we did.  When you’ve viewed each program sufficiently and shared them with family and friends, consider donating the set to a local library.  Let Freyah and Jay know which programs you find most meaningful and helpful and get involved with AVS in planning and publicizing the next AVS Annual Conference for 2001.

Raton, New Mexico.   Finally found vegan sopapillas.  El Matador Restaurant.  Excellent.  “We only use vegetable oil” the helpful server explained.  Beans and rice and guacamole as fresh and delightful as can be earn an ***** IPBN FIVE STAR FOOD AND SERVICE QUALITY AWARD.  Breakfast at the All Seasons Restaurant:  oatmeal, orange juice and rye toast served dry.  Plenty good.  This is a nice little town we have long enjoyed visiting over at least 60 years.  Las Cruces grown pistachio nuts were excellent at the town store in Des Moines, New Mexico east of Raton.  So were the peanuts from Capulin’s town store.  In Dalhart, Texas, Jasmine Chinese Restaurant provides vegetables and rice as good as you’ll find anywhere.  No tofu.  They bring it from Dallas….  We urged them to order it from Amarillo which is 400 miles nearer.

Amarillo.  When we were here for the Winfrey Lyman trial a year ago, we found more vegan items in the local health products store and café than were stocked this Summer.  Backlash?  Supply and demand?  A consumer driven change?  So, we found good vegan foods at Luby’s Cafeteria, King and I, Taco Villa #3, My Thai.  In the yellow pages we located a lovely neighborhood Mexican restaurant which served us fine beans and rice and we will return to La Frontera Restaurant.  Come early, the server advised, when the beans are fresh and we haven’t added anything else to them.   Warmly greeted and nicely treated at the Texas Cattle Feeders Association headquarters, provided with the TCPA literature which is professionally designed, illustrated and printed to communicate their non-plant based nutrition messages in a positive context referenced to the American Dietetic Association.  In Plainview, Furr’s Cafeteria is vegan friendly and always good.  So is the Far East Restaurant vegan chop suey on rice with almond slivers.  No tofu here either.  “We are becoming American,” the proprietress laughed.  She claimed the tofu available at United Supermarket one block away was not “real Chinese tofu” and dismissed our reminder that Natures Way, the town health food store, was five blocks away with more laughter because, she said, “People around here don’t like tofu.” Ha, she’s beginning to look very “American”….  In Hereford, where Bob’s Steak House provides a decent salad bar which Oprah visited in 1998, the Hunan Chinese Restaurant can overwhelm vegans with its variety of menu options – it is very very good and the chef likes preparing vegan specialties.  Culinary oases in the Panhandle are plentiful if scattered and the cooks seem glad to have hungry vegans.  Somebody there ought to make tofu!

Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Late arrival.  Hungry.  The waiter at On the Border Mexican Cafe had never served a vegan and the menu didn’t seem to offer much hope.  We asked the server to chat with the chef, but he chose to “take it to my manager” and wow were we pleased.  You never saw a better or bigger restaurant table load of beautifully presented, aromatically appealing, simply delicious vegan foods.  We could barely hold it all, but did.  They lay a portobello mushroom surrounded with whole onions on a cast iron platter and apply flames from top and bottom.  Super hot and sizzling.  A container of steamed corn tortillas was set in the middle of the table and with these we scooped mountains of beans and guacamole.  Good?  Much better than that.  Could not have been better.  ***** IPBN FIVE STAR EXCELLENCE.  On leaving we suggested to the owner-manager that he might print a vegan menu and hope his chain – which is headquartered in Austin, Texas, will expand their market using this strategy.  Their food and style would succeed in any city or sizable town.   

Who would have expected Fort Smith, Arkansas, to have a fine old health food store with everything anyone could ask for (since 1959) and a branch with a vegetarian delicatessen in a nearby suburb?  Olde Fashioned Foods, Inc. has a fine inventory and nice personnel.  A new Vietnamese Restaurant just opened on the main street and by fortuitous accident, we got off the road to reverse directions and found vegan lunch heaven over a hill and open mid-afternoon.  The Mexican vegan chef fixed the works for us and served it with delicate style.  ***** IPBN FIVE STAR QUALITY for food quality, authenticity and presentation is deserved by the chef, proprietors and operation at La Zona Latina Authentic Mexican Food restaurant.  Awesome platters.  We were overjoyed and delighted as the Mississippi River beckoned and we hastened on.

West Memphis, Arkansas is an assemblage of truck stops which we visited to obtain a banana, an apple, orange juice and two plain lettuce salads….

Nashville, Tennessee.  The Grand Old Opry Hotel is swank.  Its many restaurants all will serve vegan foods on request and the menus show serious commitment to plant-based nutrition – though it is in the minority position.  Too expensive and crowded for us, but we liked looking, and found good food nearby at a Luby’s Cafeteria.  Next day:  oatmeal and orange juice at Bob Evans and lunch at El Mariachi Authentic Mexican Food was authentic as claimed and very good.  Then we drove way south over an hour, past the new General Motors Saturn Plant to a secluded sanctuary known as The Farm.  Yes, we finally got there – after thirty years of wanting to see it.  What was begun as a commune is currently termed an “intentional community” and it is also a form of co-operative.  Everyone seemed busily engaged and content.  Lots of smiles and easy natural laughter.  Refreshing.  Enterprising veganomics at work.  The tofu maker was affable and will be a friend.  His team was preparing a shipment for Maine.  “MushroomPeople” were out.  Eco Village people seem to know all about solar energy.  The tempeh starter lady was making a batch for shipment.  The Book Publishing Company, The Mail Order Catalog Store – loaded with friends – and The Farm Store were obviously busy as they should be.  So much space.  Quietude.  We read all the bulletins and newsletters and departed feeling good.  Surprises?  Nobody farms there anymore.  “Too labor intensive” one friend explained, “and we have rabbits and let deer browse….”  Saw a few wire fence surrounded small gardens.  Departing, we stopped to reflect when a bearded young Whizzer zoomed through the entrance in a pick-up loaded with new lumber.  It was the kind of lumber that is green to indicate it has been treated with toxic chemicals to eliminate bug problems.  Sad.  We drove on figuring it better to say nothing.  He didn’t know all the implications symbolized by that wood.  Probably hadn’t even been born in 1969.

Cookeville, Tennessee looked uninspiring late on a rainy night, and the all-you-can-eat buffet at the  GONDOLA RESTAURANT had no appeal – it was tired after a long day.  The menu, however, claimed the place was Greek-Italian – so we ordered the Greek salad and pasta marinara.  The server didn’t “know anything, “she said, “about vegetarian – but the cook is one.”   “Can we eat the bread?” we asked the smiling aproned chef who came out of the kitchen to see these strangers from afar.  “How do you make it?’  He broke into a broad grin and recited: “flour, yeast, water and a little salt.”  We took an extra bag full for the next day….   Mr. Cheerful, we learned is vegan, “but people around here don’t know what that means.”  He was born in Tunis, Tunisia.  “They don’t like the hummus or stuffed grape leaves around here,” he continued, “so I cook what they want.”  He made our day bright and Chef Reda Nakkar deserves an ***** IPBN FIVE STAR AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE, VEGAN FRIENDLINESS, FINE VEGAN FOOD and the BIGGEST AND BEST SMILE we saw on this trip.  Also, he gave us the best explanation of Islamic faith we have ever heard.  Just a champion nice fellow we want to see again.  “Come to Philadelphia,”  we urged, “we need a vegan Mediterranean restaurant.”  Maybe Chef Reda will receive still other invitations and offers for he is a treasure with zest for life and a smile for everyone.    

EL RODEO MEXICAN RESTAURANT served us wonderfully in Salem, Virginia.  We just stopped by, ate and drove on.  But it was a memorable dining experience without flaw.  The service was very good and the food just like home.  An ***** IPBN FIVE STAR AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE is deserved and we will go back there every time we are in that area.

Harrisonburg, Virginia.  We have been here many times.  Ancestors founded it we are told.  Everyone works here, productive factories and farms in every direction.  They say the Civil War was largely fought in this Shenandoah Valley which extends north and south.  Now there is a family operated Vietnamese restaurant downtown.  SAIGON CAFÉ.  Nice decor.  Ty and Bich Truong, owners.  Wonderful people.  The husband cooks, the wife waits tables and the three kids help as schooling permits with clean-up and cash register.  He was engaged in “U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam War,” we learned “and, when they left, our files were not destroyed so they gave the communists our pictures and fingerprints and everything.”  He survived “re-education” and got his family to America through Cambodia and Thailand if we understood correctly. “ Welcome to America!” we said, “We need citizens like you and your wonderful family.”  Oh, the food….  Stupendous.  We were hungry for it and hoped to find a Vietnamese chef.  **** IPBN FIVE STAR QUALITY VEGAN CUISINE.  We are eager to get back to Harrisonburg for another classic meal.  “Come to Philadelphia”“ we urged. “We need a vegan Vietnamese restaurant.”  Talking about veganomics, the chef told us he pays “$130.00 for a box of lemon grass and $65.00 for half a box.”  Later, in Philadelphia, we verified that these prices were ordinary and heard “Sometimes we cannot get it at all.”  Lemon grass is obviously suffering from underproduction.  Entrepreneurs – here’s opportunity. Knocking again.

Staunton, Virginia.  Cyrus McCormick farmed and tinkered with machinery nearby.  His grain harvesting “reaper” changed the world.  This was once the American frontier.  Immigrants seeking land and new lives flocked here from Germany, Ireland and middle England.  And to honor these pioneer ancestors, area leaders have brought three old farmsteads from these three European locales to the Frontier Culture Museum.  Reconstructed in settings just like the 1700s when they were the standard, these three houses and their assorted out buildings took us back into history.  Local highschoolers and history-minded adults staff the farms in authentic period costumery.  They work all day every day in gardens and kitchens making the foods which were common when these homesteads were new.  Wholegrain breads.  Sauerkraut.  Dried vegetables to store for winter meals.  There’s a blacksmith  near the Irish cottage which has a thatched roof.  A fourth homestead is American, the kind of wood structure that has front and back porches, two levels, two stone fireplaces, lets air flow underneath, has large glass windows and is set atop a hill so air currents blow through.  Out front is an apple tree, near the kitchen a large fenced garden and a classic barn with an open middle space for drying crops completes the scene.  Every American ought to visit this place.  Williamsburg is great; Stouton Village is also great.

West Virginia…Maryland…and suddenly we were back in Pennsylvania.  A quick meal at the CHINA BUFFET in Chambersburg and then we were on the last leg of this journey and homeward bound.  We logged 5,362 miles over 26 days, loved every inch and minute of this exploration even if it was the hottest summer of our lives.  We ate well everywhere and this couldn’t have happened so easily 30 years ago.  Everyone was vegan friendly. It’s been the driest summer we have ever experienced in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Our homestead in Bala Cynwyd, however, hasn’t suffered much because we have practiced zero runoff landscaping here since 1978 and the leaf mulch and wood chips have built a soil structure which hold water and re-charges ground water very well.  Everywhere we have visited would be better off were more trees and edible fruit bearing plants established and maintained and soil built up with whatever humus – bark, woodchips, corncobs, rotted hay – is locally available.  Thank you for traveling along with us on this IPBN adventure.

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EXPO WEST AND EXPO EAST    

In Anaheim, California, in March, IPBN was assigned a non-profit booth and table space.  Copies of the PLANT BASED NUTRITION newsletter were displayed as “new products.”  Over 35,000 people, mostly health food store personnel from the west, had opportunity to see and meet the IPBN team of two 64 year old health fooders and gardeners.  Few indeed were older and no organization had a smaller booth, still the traffic was overwhelming.  Over 2,000 drop-by visitors took IPBN flyers, 125 who saw the newsletter display in a glass case upstairs signed-up requesting copies and a few new members joined – from Hawaii and Australia….

The first New Hope Communications sponsored Natural Products EXPO was in Philadelphia around 20 years ago.  Your IPBN representatives were there as the proprietors of Main Line Stove and Energy Consultants and Health Foods.  Some of the over 2000 wood stove customers also purchased Walnut Acres Organic Products (The WA truck dropped off the shipment once a month).  SHAKLEE vitamins were the rage and UPS brought these shipments overnight.  Permission was obtained from New Hope organizers in Boulder to bring Community College of Philadelphia dietetic and restaurant program students and faculty to see and taste the amazing new products veganomics and natural product economics were bringing into the culture.

In October, 1999, EXPO EAST will again be held in Baltimore, which has been its home since the first few years in Philadelphia which had too few hotel rooms for the crowd.  Around 25-30,000 will show up, mostly health food store personnel and hundreds of product company personnel.  At these shows, orders are taken for the next year and sellers test the markets to see what people still want or don’t want anymore.  IPBN members can help honor the IPBN Industry Support goal by encouraging local health food and other natural product store personnel and appropriate others to attend these annual events.

New Hope Communications is going to try a third EXPO, in Europe in 2000.  This EXPO in the Netherlands will be a new bridge linking the veganic world still better.  In Germany each Spring there is already a natural healthy products “fair” which is said to be the largest in the world or several times bigger than the two American EXPO shows combined.  That must be something to see.  And between these, there are health food and natural product shows sprouting up all around this country and the world.  In Las Vegas, Orlando, Austin and San Antonio, New York City….  Veganomics and a lot of other good movements are proliferating nicely to the benefit of everyone.

               

*****

FIVE STAR AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

CAFÉ FLORA

BEST FRENCH DIP SANDWICH

The best vegan French Dip Sandwich in the world is available in Seattle at the award deserving, superbly decorated, comfortable and enjoyable haute cuisine, avant-garde vegetarian Café Flora.  This robust yet delicately flavored and textured sandwich is an exquisite concoction of juicy portobello slices with carmelized onions stuffed between two crusty bread slabs with a brown au jus garlic and mushroom dipping sauce along with appropriate garnishings of salad greens – salad and fresh fruit.  It’s worth traveling to the city beside Puget Sound just for this one great sandwich.  But don’t stop with one, carry along at least a second one for the road.  Better still, try every vegan item on the menu.  They’re all glorious, every one a feast.  A team is at work here, managers, chefs, waiters – the foods they prepare and serve are excellent in every way.  Two large parking lots facilitate the perpetual crowds.  Vegan Brunches served Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m.  A great café in the grand tradition, perhaps the best vegetarian restaurant in North America.  Vegans relish it.  The beautiful house-special French Dip Sandwich alone is a successful concept on which to build a healthful vegan restaurant chain.  ***** FIVE STAR quality.  French Dip Sandwich par excellence!  Every city needs such a place.  It, the food and service are fantastic!  Café Flora is at 2901 East Madison in Seattle, Washington 98112.  TEL:  206-325-9100

NOTES, CORRECTIONS, ANNOUNCEMENTS

(OOPS!  Apologies!  Correction is in order.  Two hundred copies of the Spring 1999 issue of PLANT-BASED NUTRITION were mailed in June with two errors.  Café Flora was mistakenly listed as a “not-“ when it should have been described as a “hot-vegetarian restaurant”.  IPBN Charter Members are requested to inspect their copies and add a tail to the letter “n” on page three to make it an “h”.  The more comprehensive Café Flora review above is an accurate extension of the over-compressed version which appeared last issue.  Most important, get to Café Flora as quickly as possible for the food is exquisite and the service very fine.  MERCY! Also in the Spring issue, Philadelphia’s Harmony Chinese Vegetarian Restaurant was mistakenly identified as “Kosher”.  But it is not “Certified” Kosher, and so all  PBN readers are requested to correct their copies of page eight.  The other three Philadelphia Chinese vegetarian restaurants are indeed “Certified Kosher” and each is regularly re-certified following Rabbinical inspection every month.  HURRAH!  All four of these marvelous restaurants – Cherry Street Chinese Vegetarian Restaurant, Harmony, Kingdom of Vegetarians and Singapore – are in fact vegan though each is advertised as vegetarian.  Vegans and vegetarians all know why this strategy is advantageous.  The editors and proofreaders regret these typographical errors. And urge friends to eat at all five of these outstanding restaurants in Seattle and Philadelphia.  ENJOY!  Get to Anaheim, California also and for sheer ecstasy don’t fail to eat at the Chen family’s Lotus Café in nearby Orange not far from the Crystal Cathedral.  DO IT!  PBN readers are urged to nominate other exceptional restaurants, and their respective special menu items, in their locales for IPBN recognition.  GO TEAM VEGAN!  IPBN is committed to assisting develop inter-communications between and among plant-based nutrition-centered restaurants and food service institutions across North America.  A vegan chef association is needed and will sooner or later evolve.  IPBN wishes to help and encourage such a development in every way possible.  DON’T FORGET!  THE BEST RESTAURANT IN NORTH AMERICA” is IT’S ONLY NATURAL in Middletown, Connecticut, a few minutes southeast of Hartford.  Pure vegan, plant-based nutrition at its finest.  There are many great vegetarian and vegan and vegetarian-vegan friendly restaurants.  So far, IPBN reporters haven’t located one which tops ION.  Los Angeles has been scouted, and Chicago, Detroit and Nashville, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Boston and Orlando, Honolulu and San Juan.  Mexico City and Toronto.  There has to be another equal or better somewhere between Paris and Tokyo.  San Francisco?  Santa Fe?  Awards await the fortunate nominee – if they can match or exceed ION excellence.  GO FOR IT!)

USDA DIETARY GUIDELINES

MORE PROPOSALS FOR CHANGE

The National Food Processors Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has proposed that USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans be re-structured to include “two tiers” of information presentation.  These two conceptual tiers include:

TIER ONE

A Foundation for A Healthy Lifestyle

Create a diet that achieves balance and variety.

Combine your diet with physical activity to maintain or improve weight.

Eat plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits.

Practice safe food handling.

TIER TWO

Dietary Recommendations

Keep in mind that a healthy diet is more important than a single isolated recommendation.

Use fats, sugars and alcohol in moderation.

NFPA “strongly recommends the guidelines for salt and sodium be deleted to reflect current scientific data supporting the lack of health benefit to health Americans two years and older from reducing or restricting dietary salt/sodium.”   Regarding this sodium issue, NFPA official documentation suggests that “removing the guideline for sodium would accommodate a new guideline, which NFPA believes is a more significant recommendation for the health of all Americans.”  NFPA submitted a scientific literature review by David A. McCarron, M.D., “A Dietary Guideline for Sodium:  Is it Scientifically Justifiable?”   

Dr. Rhona Applebaum, Ph.D., NFPA executive vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs, has stated that “The current list of [USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Recommendations, circa 1995] is simply too lengthy and unfocused, thus making it too difficult for consumers to implement as part of their busy lives.”  NFPA recommends that the USDA Dietary Guidelines be limited to “seven in number” and “be articulated in a ‘prioritized’ manner.”   “Americans should be encouraged to focus on the nutritional content of their diets, and not on a single food or food group.” Said Applebaum, “In addition, this guideline should emphasize eating as a positive, pleasurable experience that adds to the quality of life.”  The so-called food “Pyramid should not be incorporated into the Dietary Guidelines” according to Dr. Applebaum.  ”She also suggested that, “Since the [USDA Dietary] Guidelines get wide promotion through many groups, NFPA strongly supports inclusion of a dietary guideline to practice safe food handling.” She continued, “ While food safety advice has not been included in past [USDA] Dietary Guidelines, we must acknowledge that all Americans are at risk for adverse health consequences from foodborne illness due to unsafe food handling.  Educating consumers about how to practice safe food handling, including appropriate dietary choices, is the key to increasing public awareness of foodborne illness and ways in which they can help prevent it.”  Dr. Applebaum has urged that USDA Dietary Guidelines be easily understood, easily implemented and motivational.  She said, “Unless consumers understand the advice, are convinced of the benefits the Guidelines can deliver, and incorporate them into their daily lives, the Guidelines will continue to be ineffective.”  “It is the considered opinion of NFPA, “ Dr. Applebaum, said, “that the changes we are suggesting will advance the transition of the [USDA] Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the erudite pamphlet it currently is to the motivational tool the American public so desperately needs it to become.”

IPBN concurs with NFPA recommendations for USDA Dietary Guidelines.  They are an indication that the anti-salt era may be nearing its end.  Truth is that organisms, including humans, need sodium and potassium in balance.  That too much salt and too little potassium can induce what some victims have called a false heart attack – remediable with bananas and orange juice along with “prescribed potassium pills” is a fact well known to emergency room doctors and ambulance drivers.  It is reasonable to consider that one could ingest too much potassium and too little sodium as well as too much or little of both.  Somehow, primitive peoples learned that salt can be a useful food preservative and medicinal.  It happens that the varieties of streptococcus bacteria cause dental cavities, gum disease, sore throats, digestive disorders and bowel distress can be decimated with simple salt – sodium chloride.  Grandma’s salt gargle, Grandpa’s salt and baking soda tooth powder, European salt brined sauerkraut and Korean salt brined kimchi along with Japanese salt-cured soybean miso paste and Chinese salt cured soy sauce and many other ancient foods which persist in modern times all have something in common.  They use salt to eliminate or reduce unwanted bacteria and may facilitate growth of desirable bacteria.  NFPA is expert on L. monocytogenes and works closely with FDA to keep it out of the human food supply.  It is only natural that commercial food processors would know that without salt there would be much less food available to people and that salt reduces or eliminates organisms which can make people sick.  What is important, as the tides turn, is to remember and communicate that while salt is essential and neither good or evil, it is balance which is vital and therefore sodium and potassium are co-workers in the dietary arsenal which should be used wisely, rationally, harmoniously to sustain human health. 

IPBN compliments and fully supports the NFPA dietary guidelines proposals.

Since it began in 1907, NFPA has faced and surmounted many changes and must continue to look forward providing support for all its member constituencies which will next gather in Chicago October 29-30, 1999, for their 92nd Annual Convention and WorldWide Food Expo.  IPBN commends NFPA for its decades of professional service benefiting human nutrition and health.  Food technology is important and NFPA is at the center of  it in this $460 billion food processing industry.  USDA Dietary Guidelines 2000 will be better for the input which NFPA and many other organizations including IPBN have provided to assist the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in their important work.  For information and continual updates from NFPA consult the website:  http://www.nfpa-food.org/.  Contact NFPA at 1350 I Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 or telephone public relations officer Tim Willard at  202-637-8060.   

o O o

There is no religion without love; and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to other [creatures] as well as humans, it is all a sham.

Anna Sewel, author of Black Beauty

o O o

MEET CHEF AL

Chef Al loves everyone and you are going to be hearing more about him wherever you live because he is on the road promoting vegan cooking coast-to-coast through Vegetarian Cooking Workshops sponsored by the Institute for Culinary Awakening which he formed in Seattle several years ago and which will settle soon into new quarters in Santa Fe.  Ole!

Oh, he’s a winner.  Infectious laugh.  Can’t stop smiling.  He feels so good.

You will love Chef Al when you meet him, because his aura will just reach out and grab you and you too will feel so good.

Then, there’s the cooking.  It doesn’t matter what, if it has life force in it, Chef All will make it sing.  Beautiful vegan cuisine.  Tasty.  Delightful aromas fill the room.  We all can learn from him.  Take his workshops, sign up for a course, learn form this great world teacher.  Here’s his line:  “For Clarity, Stamina, Strength, Endurance, Vibrant Health, Weight Management….  Gain lifelong ‘vegan-vegetarian’ food buying and preparation skills in an intimate setting with Chef Albert H. Chase Jr.”  What a sweet heart.  “Your Commitment + My Workshop = Vibrant Health.”  He radiates vibrant health.  He glows.  Upstate New York born and raised, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park.  Well traveled and loaded with experience.  He serves businesses and the general public, with clients of all sorts – they learn how to live a healthful lifestyle.  Al needs support in establishing the vegan chef culinary institute in Santa Fe.  Two 12 day courses start December 5th and January 20th at ICA in Santa Fe.  Contact Chef Al at ICA, 6201 15th Avenue NW, Suite B-307, Seattle, Washington 98107  TEL:  206-781-3935  WEBSITE:  www.ica-plantchefs.com   Invite him to your community for a lovefest now!

SNAKES ALIVE, JUST ANOTHER CUDDLY FRIEND

Duncan Myers

As the four-foot rat snake curled around her neck, thoughts on being a vegan wound through my brain.  Yes, I also thought my friend to be quite brave to participate in this reptile class.  But the instructor had just shown us how the snake had checked out the room, mainly with its flitting tongue.  Once sure there were no predators or prey it just wanted to raise its temperature under a warm corduroy collar.

We were not predators from the snake’s perspective, just warm objects though we knew we were friends.  Just like when a calf licks your hand, or a pig rolls over for a belly rub or a bird lands on your shoulder.  The rest of the creature kingdom knows that it is not natural for humans to eat them.  It’s a wonder that more people don’t get the message from simple observations of how creatures behave and interact with us.  We just have to keep spreading the word every opportunity.

At this weeklong Elderhostel retreat in Georgia, 30 not yet moribund folks observed fellow creatures and each other and sat down for meal after meal served for carnivores.  We were not just the youngest but also the only vegans.  Two plant eaters, 28 conditioned to cooked flesh.

“Make hay while the sun shines,” farmers say in Michigan, so we seized upon this great opportunity to quietly make some vegan comments during the 15 meals which we shared.  Maybe there’s an information deficit here I thought.  Why not liven things up with some vegan fun?  Pose some dilemmas vegans face and let our new friends get to know us better.  If interested in reptile behavior, mightn’t vegans be another fit study for these elder scholars?  After all, we’re warm blooded like they are and in no way are we predators.  With us, all fellow creatures are safe and  none need fear.  Midst scholars, I ought to experience some tolerance for vegan philosophy.

I practiced with rhetoric.  Even Thoreau in Walden  – (There’s nothing like a week without television to provide the impetus to re-read a classic.) –  debates with himself, and notes that “I have found repeatedly, of late years, that I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect.” He continues “…at present I am no fisherman at all.”  This Thoreau really knows how to make a point as when he writes “The practical objection to…[eating the flesh of fellow creatures] in my case was its uncleanness; and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked my fish, they seem not to have fed me essentially.  It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to.  A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.”

There you have it.  Just imagine how popular I became with philosophical references such as Thoreau’s.  They didn’t throw me out, but neither was Thoreau’s escape to Walden Pond forced removal.  It’s necessary sometimes to get away from the crass larger society and so we expressed gratitude to everyone, thanked all for their many kindnesses and returned home to our vegan sanctuary.  Home is where the heart is and for me that’s a plate of wholesome plant food like we fix it here in Grand Haven where we reside.

Duncan Myers pushes, pulls, leads and enjoys the Vegetarian Society of West Michigan ,he can

be contacted at VSWM, Box 485, Grand Haven, Michigan 49417, and as a vegan philosopher, activist and advocate in residence, he has a lifetime of experiences to share regarding

the virtues of fellow creatures including humans.

*****

IPBN FIVE STAR PRODUCT CITATIONS

The following are outstanding vegan products designed by outstanding professionals for outstanding consumers who demand the best foods possible.

***** PAVICH Organically Grown Raisins.  Certified Organic.  No synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers used.  From Pavich Farms in California.

***** PAVICH ORGANIC GRAPES.  “HEALTHY FOR YOU AND THE PLANET.”  Fresh picked and presented in a self-ventilating plastic bag.  From Pavich Farms in California.

***** HORIZON ORGANIC ORANGE JUICE.  Certified Organic.  No sweeteners, water or preservatives added.  From Horizon Organic Dairy in Boulder, Colorado.

***** ALL NATURAL TofuMate by Vitasoy USA in Brisbane, California.  “Healthy Meal in Minutes” powder packets which blend with tofu and other ingredients to make scrambles, salads and stir fries.

***** LIQUID LIFE.  A daily nutritional supplement liquid providing “70 plant derived minerals” extracted from ancient plant fossil shales from Utah and blended by The Rockland Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

***** Erewhon WHOLE GRAIN Raisin Bran.  “Oven toasted, [organic]whole-wheat flakes and naturally sweet sun-dried [organic] raisins with added [organic] bran” and barley malt and sea salt. From U.S. Mills in Omaha, Nebraska.

***** ASMAR’S ORIGINAL HOMMUS.  All Natural.  No preservatives.  From Asmar’s Mediterranean Foods, Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia.

***** BUNCH BEETS. Betteraves en bottles.  Certified Organic. “Organically Grown with Pride and Integrity.”  Presented with a durable and readable label providing “Nutrition Facts.”  From Cal-Organic Farms, Lamont, California.

***** Nasoya Tofu, certified organic.  From Nasoya Foods, Inc, Ayer, Massachusetts.

***** LADY MOON FARMS Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes and Grape Tomatoes.  Grown Organically.  Packaged and labeled nicely.  From St. Thomas, Pennsylvania.

***** MI-DEL Old-Fashioned “Swedish Style” Ginger Snaps. “ Made with Organic Flour and Nonhydrogenated Canola Oil.”  “Sweetened with Dehydrated Cane Juice.”  “No Saturated Fats.”  Also contains un sulphured molasses, real ginger, white grape juice concentrate, baking soda, sea salt and soybean lecithin.  Product of Canada.  From American Natural Snacks in St. Augustine, Florida.

***** Eames KOSHER-JEL.  “Contains Fructose, Carrageenan, Locust Bean Gum, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor and Color.”  From Eames Kosher Products, Lombard, Illinois.  [These are the people who also make the vegan marshmallows.

***** Earthbound Farm ORGANIC Backyard Berries:  Strawberries.  “Certified to be Organically Grown.”  From Natural Selection Foods, San Juan Bautista, California.

***** NATURE’S PATH UNLEAVENED SPROUTED MANNA BREAD.  PAIN DE BLE GERME SANS LEVAIN:  MILLET/RICE.  Certified Organic Grains.  No fat added.  No salt added..  Contains sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, certified organic millet and brown rice.  From Nature’s Path Foods Inc. in Delta, British Columbia, Canada.

***** Heartline Products.  Vegan.  Various convenience packaging.  High protein flavored soy meat.  For home and restaurant, without peer.  From Lumen Foods, St. Charles, Louisiana.

***** NATURAL WAXED PAPER.  Brown.  Made from unbleached fibers.  “Uses no dioxin-producing chlorine or bleaching agents in processing.  Is landfill safe.  Will not contaminate groundwater.  Is non-toxic when incinerated.”  Uses “New Non-Metallic Cutting Edge….”  From Menominee Paper Co., Menominee, Michigan.

***** HARVEST BURGERS.  Authentic.  Soy protein concentrate with a variety of  supplements, spices and vitamins.  From Worthington Foods Morningstar Farms in Worthington, Ohio.

***** HARD ROCK CAFÉ CASHEW BURGERS.  Authentic.  Cashew nuts blended with spices and other ingredients.  From Worthington Foods Morningstar Farms in Worthington, Ohio.

***** SHILOH FARMS ALL NATURAL ‘No Salt Added” SPROUTED SEVEN 7 GRAIN BREAD.  Outstanding loaves.  Innovative double packaging.  Makes superb sandwiches.  Keeps well frozen and thawed.  “Made with third party verified ORGANIC SPROUTED WHOLE GRAINS.” From Shiloh Farms, Inc., Sulphur Springs, Arkansas.

***** UNCLE SAM CEREAL.  “Toasted whole-grain wheat flakes with crispy whole flaxseeds.  A NATURAL LAXATIVE.  LOW SODIUM.  2000 OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS PER SERVING.”  From U.S. Mills in Omaha, Nebraska.

***** SOLGAR BREWER’S YEAST.  “DEBITTERED.  NOTHING ADDED.  NATURALLY DELICIOUS.  SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS.  NO ADDED SUGAR, SALT OR STARCH.”  From Solgar Laboratories, Leonia, New Jersey.  SOLGAR, founded in 1947, pioneered in the introduction of “VEGE-CAPS” using vegetable source gelatin for capsules.

***** RED STAR NUTRITIONAL YEAST MINI FLAKES.  VEGETARIAN SUPPORT FORMULA.  Now in a convenient take-it-to the-table shaker packaging with two flip tops for either sprinkling or pouring.  This is the not-for-bakers and not-for-brewers, mild flavored vegan-vegetarian favored special vitamin B12 rich product harvested from tiny yeast plants grown on pulverized plant pulp by RED STAR YEAST which has many plants across America.  Packaged by Wixon Fontarome, Inc. in St. Francis, Wisconsin.

***** WALNUT ACRES ORGANIC PEANUT BUTTER and WALNUT ACRES PEANUT BUTTER.  Same price, same large reusable jar, same careful plant tending of peanut vines in New Mexico, same refrigerated storage of bulk peanuts and same daily production schedules for constant freshness.  Take your pick.  Two great products from Walnut Acres Farms, Penns Creek, Pennsylvania.  A great place to visit and taste-test these super peanut butters.      

VEGAN BOOKS

Adam’s Table  #383592  $8.95  Recipes from Albuquerque’s Seventh Day Adventist restaurant. MAY BE ORDERED FROM:

Almost No-Fat Cookbook  #90124  $12..95  Bryanna Clark Grogan’s 192 pages of recipes. THE MAIL ORDER

Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook  #670099  $12..95  Bryanna Clark Grogan, 192 pages. CATALOG

Amazing Grains  #811219  $12..95  Joanne Saltzman grain and vegetable recipes, 202 pages. Box  160

Best in the World  #408101  $11.95  Neal Barnard, M.D. collects restaurant vegan recipes. Summertown, Tennessee

Burgers ‘n Fries ‘n Cinnamon Buns  #990167  $6..95  Bobbie Hinman vegan Americana. 38483

CalciYum! #990167 $6.95  David and Rachelle Bronfman offer family recipes and lifestyle hints. TEL:  800-695-231

Compassionate Cook  #394920 $10.99  Ingrid Newkirk PETA friends share recipes, 244 pages. FAX:  931-964-2291

Contemporary and Traditional Japanese Cooking  #670722  $12.95  Miyoko Nishimoto shares.ALL BOOKSTORES SHOULD

Conveniently Vegan  411181 $15.00  Deborah Wasserman teaches vegan shopping and cooking. STOCK EVERY TITLE AND

Cookin’ Healthy With One Foot Out the Door  #990868  $8.95  Polly Pitchford, Delia Quigley. LIBRARIES HAVE THEM ON

Cooking with Gluten and Seitan  #990957 $7..95  Dorothy Bates and Colby Wingate teach. THEIR SHELVES.  PLEASE

Cooking With PETA, Great Vegan Recipes #670447 $14.95  Over 200 recipes, 240 pages. HELP SPREAD VEGAN

Cooking with Seitan #40637X $12.95  Barbara and Leonard Jacobs even make seitan desserts. LITERATURE SO EVERYONE

Delicious Food for Healthy Heart  #670773 $12..95  Joanne Stepaniak, 120 recipes, 176 pages. HAS A CHANCE TO SEE IT.

Dining in the Raw #661926 $19.95  Rita Romano offers over 700 raw food recipes, 222 pages. SHARE THE GOOD LIFE.

Ecological Cooking #99085X $10.95  Joanne Stepaniak and Kathy Hecker help fellow creatures.

Fabulous Beans #990175 $12.95  Barb Bloomfield reminds how good beans are in human diets.

Flax for Life #507528 $6.95  Jade Beutler uses flax seeds and oil in 101 recipes, 96 pages.

Food for Life #882019 $13.00  Neal Barnard, M.D. offers a dietary plan for healthfulness.

Foods That Cause You to Lose Weight #807971 $6.99  Neal Barnard, M.D. teaches leanness.

From the Heart of the Harvest Café #M02001 $10.00  Susan Rizzo and Sue Thompson cook.

Good Time Eatin’ in Cajun Country #670056 $9.95  Donna Simon offer Cajun cuisine, chicory.

Health-Promoting Cookbook #670242 $12.95  Doctor Alan Goldhamer offers a program for life.

Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey #990302 $9.95  Karen Davis saves fellow creatures.

Jewish Vegetarian Year Cookbook #288439 $16.95  Roberta Kalechofsky and R. Raisel.

Judy Brown’s Guide to Natural Foods Cooking #990620 $10.95  She tells it all, teaches how.

Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales #411130 $9.95  W. W. Crist and Debra Wasserman enjoy.

Lighten Up with Louise Hagler #670110 $11.95  The soyfood pioneer advises on thinness.

Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook  #411122 $15.00  Debra Wasserman, over 150 recipes.

Macrobiotic Brown Rice Cookbook  #814470 $9.95  Craig Sams updates his recipes, 124 pages.

Meatless Burgers #670870 $9.95  Louise Hagler, 50 recipes for America’s favorite style foods.

The Millennium Cookbook #15362X $29.95  E. Tucker and J. Westerdahl San Francisco cuisine.

McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook #942084 $25.95  John and Mary, 322 pages, hardcover.

Natural Lunchbox #670269 $$12.95  Judy Brown lunches and picnic fare, kid food, 192 pages.

New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook #990604 $9.95  Louise Hagler and Dorothy Bates, 224 pages.

New McDougall Cookbook #274656 $13.95  John and Mary offer 300 recipes, 405 pages.

No Cholesterol Passover Recipes, Revised #411149 $9.00  Debra Wasserman, 100 recipes.

Now and Zen Epicure #990787 $17.95  Miyoko Nishimoto offers haute cuisine, 250 pages.

Nonna’s Italian Kitchen #670552 $14.95  Bryanna Clark Grogan’s classic recipes, 256 pages.

Nutritional Yeast Cookbook #670382 $9.95  Joanne Stepaniak tells all about yeast, 144 pages.

150 Vegan Favorites #512438 $14.00  Jay Solomon’s recipes from around the world, 240 pages.

Peaceful Palate, Revised #670315 $15.00 Jennifer Raymond educates all about vegan cuisine, 158 pages.

Sacred Kitchen #310926 $$16.95  Robin and Jon  Robertson celebrate the world with food, 222 pages.

Sensuous Vegetarian Barbeque #296136 $12.95  Vicki Rae Chelf and Dominique Biscotti  share, 222 pages.

Shoshoni Cookbook #990493 $14.95  Anne Sachs and Faith Stone, over 120 recipes from Shoshone Yoga Spa.

Simply Vegan, Revised #411157 $12.95  Debra Wasserman and Reed Mangels share recipes and counsel.

Single Vegan #514549 $12.00  Leah Leneman avoids leftovers by simplifying cooking and life, 127 pages.

Soups On! #670471 $10.95  Barb Bloomfield offers individual recipes and complete meals, 128 pages.

Solar Cookbook #670072 $8.95  Harriet Kofalk explains how to cook using only sunlight for heat, 96 pages.

Soyfoods Cookery # 670226 $9.95  Louise Hagler makes one hungry for soy and explains why it is so good.

Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause #670765 $12.95  Bryanna Clark Grogan praises soy for health

Soyfood Recipes for the American Table #670676 $9.95  The White Wave, Inc. people from Boulder explain all.

Soy of Cooking #610865 $16.95  Marie Osser, over 170 recipes using more than 30 soy foods, 264 pages.

Sproutman’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook #736841 $14.94  Steve Meyerowitz loves sprouts and people, 320 pages.

Table for Two #670196 $12.95  Joanne Stepaniak helps the tired make it easy,  192 pages.

Tofu & Soyfoods Cookbook #670501 $12.95  Peter Golbitz and soyfood cook friends teach how easy it is, 176 pages.

Tofu Cookery, Revised #990760 $15.95  Louise Hagler edits a recipe loaded compendium, 160 pages.

TVP Cookbook #990795 $7.95  Dorothy Bates tells all about texturized vegetable protein, 90 pages.

20 Minutes to Dinner  #670227 $12.95  Bryanna Clark Grogan simplifies, 192 pages.

Uncheese Cookbook #990426 $11.95  Joanne Stepaniak offers over 150 recipes, 192 pages.

Vegan Kitchen #401158 $9.95  Freya Dinshah teaches vegan basics, over 300 wholesome beautiful recipes,

Vegan Vittles #670250 $11.95  Joanne Stepaniak celebrates Farm Sanctuary with recipes, 176 pages.

Vegetarian Cooking for People with Diabetes #990221 $12.95  Patricia LeShane offers low fat recipes, 144 pages.

Warming Up to Living Foods #67065X $15.95  Elysa Markowitz prepares delicious warm raw foods, 144 pages.

Whole Soy Cookbook #888130 $16.00  Patricia Greenberg teaches how to buy and cook soy products, 224 pages.

(continued from page 28)

concoction formed into a slab decorated with green leaves and straw mushrooms and laying over a bed of steamed rice.  Whatever beverage is in the delicate glossy emerald green pitcher and serving cup surely befits this marvelous authentic Japanese vegan meal.

A book is more than its cover, however.  This one is an introduction to Japanese culture, its values and the finest recipes you will find anywhere.  There are sample menus for each season and “Year-round.”  The many Japanese ingredients are each described in the Glossary along with pronunciation tips.  Throughout, soft toned images are placed so that the reader is reminded of the many dimensions of Japanese aesthetics.  “Oyster Mushroom Pilaf…Rice with Matsuke Mushrooms…Miso Soup with Daikon Radish and Tofu Pouches…Savory Steamed Custard Soup…New Year’s Stew with O-Mochi…Tofu with An Sauce…Tofu Steak…Vegetarian Calamari…Soba with Grated Mountain Yam…Vegetable Croquettes…Mushroom Doria…Lemon Creme Fraiche…Soba Salad…Roasted Asparagus with Lime Ponzu Sauce.”   From beginning to end Miyoko captivates and holds one’s interest.  For each recipe she provides a parallel italicized description and commentary such as:

Although roasting the asparagus gives it a rich, savory flavor that contrasts nicely with the light tangy ponzu (light citrus dipping sauce), it is also tasty served either steamed, blanched or grilled.

When making the sauce, adjust the salt to taste according to the sweetener used.  It should be tangy, but balanced with sweetness and saltiness.

Perhaps one sample recipe can be shared.  Consider “Shiitake Stock” which can be useful in a variety of cuisines and dishes.  Start with 15-20 dried shiitake and 1 quart of water:  “Soak the shiitake in the water for several hours.  The water will become a light to dark brown.  There is no need to simmer; it can be used as is.  Shiitake stock with shiitake soaking in it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.”  Learn something already?  This is beautiful simplicity.  For “Curry Udon” nine ingredients will be needed.

This is a book for gifting and donating to libraries and schools.  It is a sensitive sensible social studies textbook which teachers and students can relish.  This book is an honorable tribute to the greatness of Japanese culture and one of its most appealing ambassadors.  It brings the highest tastes from Japanese cuisine into American homes where it is long overdue.  The task couldn’t be done until Miyoko appeared as now she has so gloriously.       

Of course there’s a useful Index and the back cover biography of Chef Miyoko explains how our precious friend came to be in this generous world-teacher situation.  “She was born in Yokohama, Japan and graduated from St. John’s College in Maryland.”  Bicultural and bilingual, vegetarian since age 12….  Entrepreneurial, aggressive, aesthetic, Motherly, with a good solid head for business Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner is simply wonderful and we are humbly grateful to have this  opportunity to share her goodness and this sublime book with everyone everywhere.

What a great cook and fine all around person.  Thanks Miyoko.  And what A wonderful contribution this new book is.  Be proud Miyoko.  It’s delicious!

JAPANESE VEGAN CUISINE

Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner.  Japanese Cooking, Contemporary & Traditional – Simple, Delicious and Vegan.  HEALTHY WORLD CUISINE SERIES.  Summertown, Tennessee:  Book Publishing Company, 1999.  ISBN 1-57067-072-2.  $12.95.

We have been waiting for this book and it is rewarding our patience.  Finally, everybody’s friend Miyoko has given vegan cuisine the infusion of subtle Japanese tastes, textures and aromas it has needed far too long.  Thank you Miyoko for this beautiful gift.

Ah, shibui.  Simplicity and purity.  Such transcendental quality, beauty, love.  This tome meets the highest standards of Japanese aesthetics, pleasing the American eye and palate as well.  Let Miyoko tell how this all started:

Ishi-yaki-imo!  The singsong cry of the sweet potato peddler would echo again and again, resounding into every home on the street.  Children and mothers, lured by the sweet smell, would run out to buy the simple treat from the hand-pulled cart, heavily laden with sweet potatoes buried in hot rocks.  I remember too, as a young child being lured by the beauty of the cry, warming my hands over the rocks in the cart and biting into the smoky sweetness of roasted yams.

That begins the Introduction, on page four, and by the time a reader has reached the close of the Index on page 174, ecstasy has overwhelmed and one is compelled to either get in the kitchen and try every recipe, buy a one-way fare to Japan or get to San Francisco quickly and apply for a job working in Miyoko’s kitchens – otherwise known as Now and Zen.  Yes, this is the Mother of “UNTURKEY,” that succulent entree and those exquisite gourmet cakes available frozen in healthy food stores locally and by special shipping from Now and Zen Foods in the city by the bay where so many hearts have been lost to love and higher better more nutritious tastes.  But, the new book is what is important here.  It is a delight as sweet as a baked yam and glowing as a full moon.

Rejoice over the cover and place it to be seen every day as food is being prepared.  Six lovely ceramic serving pieces form the composition sitting gracefully on a traditional woven bamboo matchstick and cotton string placemat.  Three pieces of Japanese rice paper complete the

background:  one marbelized, another gilded with gold and green flower imagery while the third is

simple calligraphy – undoubtedly a moral ethical statement regarding careful food preparation and an admonition to enjoy every quality of the food.  On these, four intriguingly beautiful food placements of the simplest and best, look mouth-wateringly good.  Five succulent green snowpeas are arranged in fan shape with a serrated carrot disk to anchor the image in its scalloped round dish.  Atop an upwardly curved rectangular plate lay two perfect green shiso leaves, a lemon slice and small umeboshi plum, then a mound of sliced daikon -which is a white radish – with thin strips

of nori black seaweed are sprinkled randomly over it to present a daikon salad with umeboshi-lime dressing.  Fried tofu dumplings, golden with a white topping, are centered in a lotus-shaped bowl with a gold rim. And the main dish –  piece de resistance – is an appetizing shiitake mushroom

(review continued on page 27)

(Should NFPA should ever come to advocate food irradiation, IPBN could not support that, but would understand why. Currently, consumers don’t want and won’t tolerate irradiation.  NFPA is expert on all the alternatives to irradiation and works closely with FDA to ensure food safety in every form of processed food for America.  NFPA is open to input and shares information.)

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