There’s a mishmash of a title! What do these things have in common? Well…nothing really, but I have a few things on my mind today and no one topic warranted a full post. So this will be a post of “mini-posts”. Which leads me to this “Post”…
I’m a regular reader of the Huffington Post. It’s where I get a quick peek at top news stories and lose myself browsing the “Healthy Living”, “Green”, and “Post-50” news and features.
Did you know that the Huffington Post has a “Veganism” section? Neither did I! You can take a look for yourself here. I happened upon this today when I did a general Google search of “vegan news”, and I was surprised that I never noticed this section before. I went back to the Huffingtonpost.com main page and started perusing all the sections trying to find the link to this page, but I couldn’t find it. I was not surprised that Veganism didn’t have it’s own section like “Green” or “Black Voices” or “Taste” so I dug a bit further to see if it was a sub-section of one of these main sections. I checked, “Green”, “Taste”, “Healthy Living” and even “GPS for the Soul” where a section on Veganism would be appropriate. But it was nowhere to be found. Finally I just typed in “Veganism” in the “search the site” box, and I was connected to a listing of vegan-related articles from Huff Post, but not this page. I found this all pretty odd. Why have a section if nobody can find it?
In light of this, I was thinking about the current blog on Victoria Moran’s “Main Street Vegan” website. Victoria wrote an open letter to former President Clinton, a one-time vegan who recently “came out” as non-vegan on the Rachael Ray show. She also submitted her letter to Huffington Post and provided them with the documentation they needed to substantiate some of her claims. After many days, Huff Post finally decided not to run the piece. According to Victoria, this was unusual as her articles are typically accepted. This letter was a kind and respectful response to some of President Clinton’s comments (e.g. he might not have been getting enough “high quality protein” on the vegan diet) on the show. You can read Victoria’s letter/submission here.
I’m not overly surprised that Huff Post would nix an article that challenges a former president in this way. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton is a powerful voice, and in this case perhaps not the most accurate voice. While he is certainly entitled to make his own food choices, his appearance on Rachael Ray was undoubtedly harmful to the vegan cause. Sadly, ex-vegans, who originally went vegan for health rather than ethical reasons oftentimes bash veganism on the way out. I don’t think they do themselves any favors by going back to any version of the SAD (Standard American Diet) but their rhetoric can be impactful. Printing articles like Victoria’s allows for a direct response to these claims.
Ironically, during my same “vegan news” search that yielded the HP Veganism page I also read about a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics that compared a vegan diet to the American Heart Association’s recommended diet (probably not unlike President Clinton’s) in reducing obesity and heart disease risk factors in children. The children on the vegan diet had significantly greater improvement in only one month on the plan. You can read this article here.
I guess the lesson here is that it’s imperative that we do our own research and not depend on ex-presidents , online news companies or anyone to do our research for us. After all everyone’s got their own agenda. Next up…
Vegan in Vegas
David and I spent a few days in Las Vegas last week because he was attending a continuing education course that happened to be at Caesar’s Palace. I am not a fan of Las Vegas (shocking, I know) but I decided to tag along with the idea of blogging about being vegan in Vegas. Well, really there was not much to tell. Vegas (the strip anyway) is really not vegan-friendly. With the notable exception of the Wynn properties (owner Steve Wynn is vegan) where you can find ridiculously expensive vegan options (maybe two or three) in the Wynn restaurants, it was pretty much a vegan desert.
So how did I handle it? I pretended I wasn’t in Vegas, ignored the strip and looked for the items that I would seek out in Chicago or New Jersey or anywhere I might visit. So that included:
Breakfast- Starbucks Soy Latte and Lara Bars ($15.00 for two lattes= insane!)
Snack- Freebie fresh fruit from the Caesar’s fitness center (which was gorgeous and predictably not crowded)
Lunch- Veggie burger at Whole Foods (took the bus off the strip) and Sofritas salad from Chipotle in a nearby food court
Dinner- Overpriced but serviceable eggplant stir fry and cellophane noodle tofu bowl (Chinese place in Caesar’s) and chips and salsa and vegan tacos at Jose Cuervo’s in the LV airport (who knew?).
Considering that Las Vegas is all about excess, it’s not surprising that healthy eating is not what most visitors have in mind. But I was surprised by just how few options there were. I suppose that if you are comped for some of the big buffets there would be plenty to eat, but since I am a committed non-gambler, I was on my own. I did okay but I was way glad to get home and get back to my own life which admittedly runs a bit minimalist, much like this plate of deliciousness…
Curried Dal Dip
Our favorite vegan eatery in Tucson is the Food for Ascension cafe (website here). Lately they’ve been offering small plates for free before the main meal arrives. These bites are usually dips or hummus type things. In fact I learned to love hummus at Food for Ascension. The last time we ate there, we had red lentil dal that was so delicious I had to try making it myself. I looked at a bunch of recipes and settled on a curried dal (recipe here) that looked similar to the dish we had at the restaurant.
This recipe calls for a handful of ingredients and spices, most of which I already had on hand-red lentils, coconut milk, tomato paste, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder and garam masala. After cooking the lentils, everything gets sautéed together until the paste forms. I pulsed the whole mixture in the food processor just to get a smoother consistency. Here’s a look at the processed dal:
Admittedly it looks a bit more appealing scooped out (I had fun with my ice cream scoop!) and arranged on the plate with the veggies and pita (naan would be great too). This dip is incredibly flavorful and very very healthy. It’s full of protein and only a tiny bit of oil is used for sautéing. I’m kind of hooked on dips now so I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying and sharing some other varieties very soon. Thinking a cashew mushroom pate might be next.
Enjoy, and don’t forget the ice cream scoop!