Tuesday, December 4, 2007

for those who add chick peas to everything...

Hi everyone, I'd first like to thank Jen for inviting me to be a contributor to Sporty Vegans.

About a year and a half ago I started writing a cycling blog to chronicle a long distance bike commute I was doing up here in Canada. When I went from vegetarian to vegan I began reading lots of horrible stuff about factory farming and the lack of animal cruelty laws, and I started ranting about these issues on my cycling blog until I realized I was probably just pissing off my cycling (and meat-eating) readers, so I started a veggie blog at Veggie Karma.

Full disclosure - I don't eat any sort of meat, or eggs or any dairy, and honey was recently given up, but I have yet to check to see which beers get filtered through fish bones, and which sugars are processed using animal charcoal, so I'm close to full vegan, but not quite there.

Oh yeah - and my "sporty" background is this - I've been a 10km to 1/2 marathon runner, and a duathlete, but these days I can mostly claim to be a bike commuter and jogger who does the local triathlon every summer for fun.

Professionally I'm a university librarian and so I have access to lots of popular and academic material that veggies find interesting - i.e. how much healthier we are than omnivores, the environmental damage that the meat industry causes, etc.

To sign off with today, here are three quick "further reading" ideas for you:

Unhappy Meals, which is a N.Y. Times article about food in general, by Michael Pollan. It even dives into some political background about the influence of the agricultural lobby groups on the food pyramid and nutritional advice put out by the U.S. government.

Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan's book about the origins of a fast food meal, an organic meal, a vegan meal, and a "do it yourself" meal. He traces each food item
from these meals back to their sources, and reveals lots of fascinating stuff about what we put into our mouths.

Breaking the food seduction, this is the book
that made my girlfriend say "Hey let's go Vegan". This one is more of a diet book, and one interesting point is the
author's assertion that going vegetarian is all well and good, but if you really want to get the health benefits, you have to
give up the eggs and dairy as well. The author is also the director of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The PCRM, as this story relates, has done things like "ask the USDA to have a biohazard label attached to chicken meat warning consumers that the chicken is likely contaminated with feces and therefore foodborne pathogens such as salmonella, E. Coli and others."

P.S. - Regarding Heather's question regarding gastrointestinal upset, I'm sorry to say that I have no advice on that one!


Veg*Triathlete said...

You know, I'd forgotten how much Pollan really does emphasize the value of eating a largely plant-based diet. His book has been used so frequently as justification for "happy meat" that I've gotten really fed up with him, but perhaps somewhat unfairly. Thanks for the NYT article link, Chris.

Tuco said...

Even though he is an omnivore, he obviously points a very accusing finger at the factory farm industry, and I find that to be a pretty big success in itself.

I also like the bit where he tries reading Singer's "Animal Liberation" while having a steak dinner, and has to put his fork down until he can figure the ethics out. : )

KleoPatra said...

Oh interesting! i gotta check out the Veggie Karma blog. Sounds right up my alley. Those links are super cool, thank you.