CARING FOR PRODUCE
For a year at IPBN there has been a conscious effort to figure out the best ways of caring for produce, once it has been harvested – or bought and brought from a store. As often occurs during inquiries and systematic research, some shibboleths have been tested and discarded while unexpected realizations have proven true. Imagine this is a detective story….
Sherlock, the nom de plume for this scripting, has been shocked into reflection by a television broadcast in which the interviewee has stated that “Licking a toilet seat would usually be safer than a kitchen sink” and typical food preparation counter. Horrified, he sat up and repeated the claim he thought he had just heard, then he then relaxed when the speaker acknowledged that this dramatic claim centered on preparation areas used for “That Which Should Not Be Mentioned.” “TWSNBM” – what Sherlock called “non-plant based” substances not fit for human consumption. Sherlock neither ate, thought of or ever purchased TWSNBM.
But, he had seen and did know of TWSNBM. And he read scientific journals replete with evidence relating to correlations between TWSNBN and disease, knew that E Coli was merely one of a plethora of disease agents luring wherever TWSNBN was handled. Never before, though, had he thought of a toilet seat as more fecund with filth that any part of a kitchen. “Modern times, he thought to himself, ‘we’re getting to know more than ever – and less of it is comfortable.’” “Why,” he mused, “ I’ve never even thought of licking either a toilet seat or kitchen cutting board. Besides, my own cutting board is
pyroceram – very clean – and my toilet seat is decently antiseptic as well.” By now, the program which had captured his attention had ended and his screen showed a stream of commercials of no interest to him nor, he suspicioned with the wry smile he was known for, anyone else who had more than two brain cells.
Next day, Sherlock was scrupulously clean in every household food handling and preparation process. At his nearby produce market, Joe the manager answered his questions about where each item came from, how it had been processed, stored, transported, prepared and set out for display. “No,” he acknowledged, he didn’t keep the various different kinds of produce items separated. “We just put it all on the floor in the back room,” he explained, “bananas and basil, cucumbers and cantaloupe, peas and potatoes. Farmers don’t keep everything separate. Truckers just pile it all in and haul it to us. At night we cover it with burlap and wet it down with tap water. Is there anything wrong with that?” Joe had asked the wrong person…..
…When he had finished his soliloquy on produce hygiene, the last question Sherlock asked Joe was, “If we sampled bacteria from your toilet seat, hands, produce and kitchen, what do you think we’d find?” “I don’t have time to do scientific research,” Joe replied, “I assume everyone washes and cooks everything when they get home before they eat it.” Sherlock relented, “No need to
bother him about raw foodists or even discuss salad green hygiene.” He remembered a quote in one of Thomas Carlyle’s novels, “There is endless merit in a man’s knowing when to have done.” Let it be, he thought and said, “Joe, I want to thank you for what you have taught me. I never knew how complicated your job is and I appreciate how hard you work to keep us fed well. You need to get back to business and I have soup and salad to make at home.” “Sure, we do work at it” said Joe, “anytime you need to know something, just come ask me.”
There was one more shop to visit before Sherlock returned home. His neighborhood “health food store” people called it. Actually it was the neighborhood health care center where people visited to collect information about almost everything related to their health – and meet friends and neighbors to gather espionage relating to their life circumstances. Sherlock only wanted to know if there was any produce care information and to ease up on the inquiry, he selected a bunch of “organically certified bananas” along with a bar of herbal soap from India which he liked very much. Blanche, the shop owner said, “Since Daddy started this in 1939 when he had his chiropractor office in the back and these shelves were full of healthy natural products for his patients.” She welcomed “Mr. Sherlock” and asked whether he needed “anything else.”
“Just a bit of information,” he volunteered, “I’ve been wondering about how I should be managing fresh produce. You know, there are all those articles about being careful….” Blanche smiled, she had heard it all since inheriting this incarnation of the old country store, “Did you hear the fellow say toilet seats are cleaner than kitchen sinks last night on television?” He really made me sit up and think. “Really?” exclaimed Sherlock, not wishing to divulge fully what he knew or all his motivations. “Are these bananas safe?” he asked so as to regain the offensive. “Certainly,” replied Blanche, “if you first peel them – and if you’ve washed your hands,” she paused to catch her breath, “and if they were not chemically or biologically contaminated in any way en route from…. Where are those from? Mexico? I eat them. Why are you asking so many questions?”
She smiled at Sherlock and asked, “Have you tried any of those new produce washes?” “No,” he said quickly, his eyes darting across the shelf where she was pointing. “Well, I have,” she commented and clinched the sale, then paused briefly and continued, “all of them.”
He saw four plastic bottles, each with a unique shape, size and labeling. “All of them?” “Yes, Daddy used to say you never really know which therapy will work until you try several. He used chiropractic and naturopathy and homeopath and herbalism and….” She was running out of breath, “…and allopathy. Daddy respected surgery and pharmaceuticals, he said they had their place, along with nutraceuticals and phytoceuticals and whatever else actually worked. So I figured that until I know which of these produce washes is actually best, I’ll try them all and observe their respective effects.” Sherlock swooned to this argument. He always gathered all possible data before coming to any conclusion. And this broad sweep strategy served him well. He’d never failed a client or lost a case in court. “Why not give them a try?” he thought to himself. And so he said, “Load me up,” holding his recycled cotton shopping bag open to receive HEALTHY HARVEST FRUIT AND VEGETABLE RINSE, containing purified water, food grade nonionic surfactant; THE ORIGINAL FRUIT & VEGETABLE WASH, containing non-ionic and anionic coconut based surfactants and sorbitol based polysorbate-20; VEGGIE WASH, containing pure and natural citrus water, natural cleaners made from corn and coconut, lemon oil, sodium citrate derived from citrus fruit and glycerin derived from coconut; and ORGANICLEAN FRUIT & VEGETABLE WASH, containing purified water, coconut based anionic surfactant, bilberry extract, sugar cane extract, sugar maple extract, orange extract, lemon extract, biosurfactant of glucosidic and lipidic substrates and natural citrus complex. “You’ll be pleased,” Blanche said, “every one of them has been used at the Institute for Plant Based Nutrition and they found each one worked in the situations described on their labels. Look, here’s their recent newsletter.” Blanche held up a well-thumbed copy of PLANT-BASED NUTRITION, A newsletter for everyone everywhere, dated Spring 2000, and exclaimed, “I wouldn’t want to be without this.”
“Could I borrow that newsletter overnight?” Sherlock asked, “Just to read it and see what else might be useful…..” “Of course,” said Blanche knowing that when he returned the copy in a day or two she would get to educate him a little more – and he would probably buy a few more vegan products. “Ring…Ring…Ring….”
“Yes, this is the Institute for Plant Based Nutrition. Blanche…, yes we know her. Oh, yes, we have been testing vegetable and fruit washes for several years. There’s more to it than that, however. We’ve been working to learn how best to care for produce in the home kitchen setting. Did you hear the scientist on TV say he’d rather lick a toilet seat than…? Blanche told you, eh. And you did hear it. Well, that was a good one. The phone has been ringing ever since…. Do you have time to hear what we have learned? Fine. Get ready for another informational tidal wave.”
“Here goes…. Whatever has been brought home from field or market, fruits, vegetables, roots, herbs, if it is fresh then immediately spray it with your choice of the washes now on the market – Blanche stocks them all – and let it stand a while so the surfactant can work into crevices on the outside and begin to loosen, soften and disintegrate the film of chemicals, waxes, shellacs, soil, bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. You’ll never know what all is there, nor whether it is natural or synthetic, toxic or harmless. What comes off will probably amaze you. After spraying each item, yes covering every leaf, then massage the surfaces with your hand or a soft brush. If there is shellac or paraffin, you may never get it off. Always peel when suspicious. Spray more and scrub more as seems appropriate. Alas, if you have a public water supply it is probably chlorinated and not “certified organic” in any sense of the word. Sorry, rainwater might be even worse. Ideally, use pure spring or well water. Use filtered, distilled or perhaps even boiled water if you have it. Bypassing public water can be done, but it is not convenient to maintain a separate water supply in safe containers with appropriate hoses and sprayers. Whatever water source is used, the tender leaves should just be well sprayed – and let the solution work down them into the core of the plant. Then, if you are satisfied every surface has been contacted – and allowed to set for at least three minutes – rinse well. A sink sprayer is useful in getting rinse water down into the core of leafy plants and can clean out pockets of debris such we observe on potatoes. Rinse again until no suds appear on any surface. After everything is clean, and you have seen what has come off, drain and then refill sink – or a large pot if you prefer – with cool clean water and let everything soak at least 15 minutes, ideally 20 to 30. You are chilling the outside and inside and slowing bacterial growth even in the center of the item. Warm produce spoils – gets eaten up faster by bacteria which are always present – than when the temperature is cooler. Maybe more ‘stuff’ will come off. If it does, you may see it collecting on the bottom; some partially transparent materials may be visible in the debris. Drain and rinse one last time. Inspect. Inspect. Inspect.”
“Lacking modern produce cleaning sprays, you can use old fashioned substances which may work as well. Many pesticides are essentially neutralized – or at least weakened – by contact with alkalinity. Plain salt water, (add baking soda for additional effects), will have the same effects on bacteria on plant foods as on teeth and gums in the mouth. Both of these alkaline substances can help neutralize some pollutants on produce. Vinegar too may well eliminate some bacteria and fungi. And a tiny bit of tea tree oil or neem oil in water could dissolve and inactivate some undesirable hitchhikers on produce. Vegans may not find some other techniques desirable. For example, iodine tablets are used for purifying water in developing countries and military situations and at times the same tablets are used in wash water for vegetables and fruits being prepared for eating. Iodine reduces bacteria, fungi and protozoa counts. Would a vegan use it in extreme situations? Some would, some wouldn’t. In Canada, on the label for Juvex, which is a sodium hypochlorite solution similar or identical to Clorox, are instructions for using a small amount in water for vegetable and fruit washing. We met a missionary from Ethiopia who said his family was taught to soak produce several hours in a dilute Clorox water bath. Could a vegan justify using chlorine in the wilds of Ethiopia and, uh… Canada? May a vegan shower in chlorinated water? In America, local tap water has probably already been chlorinated. Oh, well. A real dilemma in all this so-called purification is that scientists now know that even cooking does not eliminate all biological contaminants, bovine spongiform encephalitis prions, for example. Whew. That’s not good news. And no matter what scrubbing and bathing, nevermind which mild or harsh treatments are used, there will be live bacteria, fungi and viruses on most produce following whatever one does to reduce their proliferation. So it seems more than a little prudent to be careful in selecting produce for purchase as well as properly caring for it before eating. When one can, growing foods for oneself provides assurances available no other way. Pick quick and immediately eat is probably the best practice. Just like in Eden, eh? No chlorinated fluorocarbons or bovine spongiform encephalitis prions there. Or were there? Anyway, some have been talking about veganic-organic growing standards which, if they work as well as hoped, could eliminate much of the need for getting rid of contaminants we shouldn’t have allowed to be present in the first place.”
“Enough of that, though, you now have wet produce – hopefully more free of pollutants, hitchhiker bugs and debris than when you started the washing processes – and it all needs to be dried quickly and stored appropriately. So heap everything on plates or racks to drain and air-dry for an hour, more or less. Blot every item dry with the highest grade paper towels or clean cloths as you prefer. Separate fruits from leafy greens and vegetables and tubers and roots…. Put potatoes inside brown paper bags and store them in a basement, perhaps on the steps – or wherever it doesn’t get very cold or very warm. Do the same with onions…garlic….winter squashes…. And do the same also with apples, but keep them separate from the roots and tubers. Citrus fruits like the same treatment if you have a large quantity, but keep them away from potatoes for they exhale ethylene and accelerate fruit ripening. Store most soft fruits at room temperature. Do not refrigerate them. Tomatoes are fruits. So are grapes. Leave them out on the counter. Buy few at a time and eat them fast. Are you still there? Good. Let’s move on….”
“Line your refrigerator produce bins or baskets with high quality paper towels. We use only SEVENTH GENERATION unbleached unchlorinated plain brown paper towels. They are ***** IPBN FIVE STAR QUALITY products. Layer three thicknesses of these at the bottom of your refrigerator bins, then layer vegetables such as kale, collards, carrots, celery, lettuces, radishes – packing them in as closely as you can while leaving spaces for ventilation between every item. Don’t buy much fresh produce at a time and you’ll have no storage problem. In Europe, the tradition is to buy fresh every day and have a small refrigerator with frequent inventory turnover. In Asia the tradition is to buy just before every meal, three times daily. The American tradition of huge overfilled refrigerators stuffed with spoiling foods is not glorious or healthful and it is energy inefficient. But that’s another story…. Atop your packed produce, place another layer two paper towels thick and over this loosely lay a gallon sized plastic bag or plastic sheet to provide a sort of roof which will keep moisture from escaping too fast while at the same time allowing air circulation in and out. Carrots breathe. They continue to inhale oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen while in storage; and they exhale the same continually – so long as there’s a bit of root or stalk bottom left on. In your refrigerator, they’ll adapt as on a cool damp night. Leaving as much of the bottom on produce as possible allows it to stay alive longer and perhaps even to grow. Sometimes carrots and beets will sprout new leaves. That’s a sign they are yet alive. Immerse parsley stems in water. Tear off outside leaves from cabbages and lettuces. Work from outside in and the item will last longer.
“As you use this produce, continually monitor its quality and use first that which seems most ready: the softest tomato, the celery stalk with a touch of rust browning the end and the leaf which has dry, brown, black or soft spots at the edges. If something may soon begin to decompose, use it quickly. Make a soup…add pieces to a sauce…use it or lose it….”
We could hear Sherlock breathing and assumed him to be yet alive…and proceeded on…..
That’s it, but you didn’t ask one important question. “What’s that?” We knew for sure he was alive and yet listening…. “Why tear rather than cut?” We heard him shuffling paper, perhaps he had been taking notes? “OK, why not cut?” We had him and replied, “Plants are made up of cells and when torn apart they break at the edges of cells. A broken off and torn lettuce leaf will hold up quite a while in a salad bowl, but cut it and the knife ruptured cells will weep, shrivel, try to heal and not last as long. There’s more – cut lettuce tends to brown at the cuts. The cell structure has been severely damaged and rusty bacteria go to work at every opportunity.” We stopped and waited to hear Mr. Sherlock’s response.
“Is that all? My goodness. I never thought about all of these things before. Thank you very much. Can I join your organization? What can I do to help you?” Our reply was quick, “We never thought of all these things before either. We’ve learned from others and tested each strategy and merely pass them on. And, yes, you can join IPBN. Previous newsletters are accessible free on the internet at www.plantbased.org and we mail printed copies of every publication to members who contribute at least US$12.00 each calendar year. Just send a check anytime and we’ll send everything IPBN prints during that year – and more. We send whatever else we find which appears important for IPBN members. But membership aside, probably you can teach us something Mr. Sherlock. We suspect that you may have a famous ancestor who was a superb detective and you probably know much more than we do about most things.
“Well, as a matter of fact I have been working on a case in which a victim succumbed to vitamin B12 deprivation and I’ve learned quite a bit about cyanocobalamin and naturally occurring cyanide in plants….” “Do please send us your research papers and maybe we’ll be able to publish something on the subject. Was the victim by any chance African-American?” Mr. Sherlock seemed surprised. “Why yes, in fact he was. Why do you ask?” “And in his medicine cabinet were there any empty bottles of potassium thiocyanate?” “No. What are you getting at?” We sighed. “Too bad. It probably was not a vitamin B12 deficiency. Potassium thiocyanate might have saved his life. You need to read The Felix Letter as well as Plant-Based Nutrition.”
“Excuse me,” Mr. Sherlock interrupted. “I have another case….” “Yes?” we responded. “The victim was blue….” We interrupted. “Possibly carbon monoxide, but probably cyanide poisoning. You must read and get yourself informed about how things work in and on bodies…. We will send information so you can contact experts on potassium thiocyanate, cyanocobalamin and cyanide along with their possible relationships with your cases. Look up the chemical ingredients of prussic acid, Vitamin B12 and sorghum. Please do call again, whenever you need help solving difficult cases. That’s what we health food store people do all day. Just call us health detectives. And sometimes we are also medical mystery solvers. Doctors, morticians, biologists, botanists and research scientists are among our best customers. So are lawyers. But to our knowledge, you’re the first detective to we have advised. It’s been fun. Now we have to go, but thank you for calling and we hope we have been helpful. Don’t forget to eat ten to twenty vegetables a day, scrub and wash them well first….”
“You have been more than helpful,” he said quietly through a tell-tale wheeze. Too bad he has that nicotine addiction and creeping emphysema. Put away that pipe pops…. He needs healthcare bad and yet he’s concerned about pollution on produce. Mercy. What amusing creatures we are….
Past midnight, ’twas time for bed…. Gotta call Blanche tomorrow and tell her that Proctor and Gamble is now offering a produce washing “system” which portends to be comprehensive and widely available in supermarkets. More competitors, but we seem to outlive them all. Will this be a threat to natural products producers of fruit and vegetable sprays? If any company could do a first class job in this area, P&G could. They’ve got the money. But, will they do the needful or just harvest dollars? Will they give consumers a first-class veganic produce cleaning system? Or, will it be another synthetic chemical bomb? Why wouldn’t P&G try a veganomic route back to prosperity having seen its stock price fall precipitously in recent months? Veganomic incentives are everywhere one looks. Time will tell…. C’est la vie.
What was it Jimmy Durante used to say? “Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”
IPBN ***** FIVE STAR AWARDS
FOR PROFESSIONAL AND PRODUCT QUALITY
GINNY’S VEGAN FOODS
Remember Ginny? She won the first IPBN contest with her essay on “Why I Am A Vegan” back in 1998. Ever since, Ginny Mead has been busy developing a business, veganomic in principle, and she is feeding tens of thousands some of the best foods they have ever eaten.
Ginny Mead is a winner. Seeking to make a transition from professional consulting work training professionals to manage time and stress, she wanted to develop a vegan business, with her husband, which could operate from their New England homestead. She did it, they did it. “Ginny’s VEGAN” was launched, wobbles were corrected and the four product line of Kosher and pareve vegan vegetable entrees in jars is flying high. These “heat and serve right from the jar” foods are ready to eat with only 3-5 minutes of stovetop warming. Frankly, they’re good to eat right out of the jar, cold, because there is essentially no fat (0 to 1 gram per serving, depending on the product selected). Delicious, nutritious and convenient, Ginny’s VEGAN Foods include: SAVORY SOY CHILI, CLASSIC RATATOUILLE, MEXICAN FIESTA STEW, and ROASTED PEPPER CHILI. Each jar of Ginny’s homestyle entree can feed up to four when served with rice, pasta, potatoes or any other starchy root or grain. “The ingredients in Ginny’s VEGAN Foods are all natural (free of preservatives, coloring agents, and artificial additives) and all vegan (made from plants).” Winners, every one, and coming your way as Ginny and Mr. Ginny go national and international in 2001. Spread the word, every grocer should stock Ginny’s. Contact: Ginny’s VEGAN Foods, Box 91, Lancaster, New Hampshire 03584-0091. TEL: 603-788-3975 EMAIL: email@example.com WEBSITE: www.ginnysveganfoods.com
FAMOUS CHEF AL IS ON THE ROAD FOR ICA
At the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, in September, Chef Al Chase conducted a four-day vegan cooking course. Call it professional training, plant-based nutrition education, vegan cuisine awareness, healthy food preparation or a wellness workshop, this was a seminal event. He taught the needful, worked to meet individual and group needs and kept the sessions interesting as well as fun. But then that’s what he always does. As a synergetic benefit, participants in Chef Al’s courses experience culinary ecstasy and don’t want the experience to end. When it does, they tend to keep in touch. Again his family of friends and supporters has been widened. Rhinebeck participants have been added to the fold and they are joyous. Join with them in Chef Al’s helpful network by participating as you can.
On September 14th, Chef Al taught a one day introductory workshop for faculty and students of the Art Institute of Philadelphia Culinary Curriculum. Also in attendance were representatives of Mayor John Street’s community health education team and IPBN. All learned and were pleased.
He is a traveling man on tour for weeks every year. Following his series of Fall 2000 workshops along the east coast, Chef Al is planning his schedule for 2001. As Chef Al views things, “We are all in this together and American health improvement is the goal.
The illustrious chef was recently featured in a full page article in VEGETARIAN JOURNAL, (September-October 2000, Page 35). In this Vegetarian Resource Group report by Meri Robie, Chef Al’s biography is reviewed and his motivations are revealed. “At twelve years old, after witnessing his father have a heart attack, Chef Al began to seriously consider the risk factors associated with his family’s diet. In 1985, he became a vegetarian, and within five years he went vegan.” IPBN has been publicizing Chef Al’s “Food for Thought, Tools for Change” workshops for two years and urges all who can to investigate his work, participate with him in the vegan plant based nutrition education revolution and help advance this effort through whatever channels are accessible. Sooner or later the so-called mainstream press should report on Chef Al and the selfless good work he is doing. At the commercial level, Chef Al can provide gourmet catering service anywhere. Whomever can would be well served by enrolling in the workshops he conducts in Santa Fe where regular courses are conducted at the veganic-organic chefs school he directs. Contact Chef Al at the Institute for Culinary Awakening, 7 Ave. Vista Grande #316, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505-9100. TEL: 505-466-4597 EMAIL: vegan chef firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE: www.ica-plantchefs.com Vegan chefs are in demand and Chef Al is a master teacher with programs to suit individual diverse needs. He offers “the joy of creative expression through food.”
When I was 88 years old, I gave up meat entirely and switched to a plant based-food diet following a slight stroke. During the following months, I not only lost 50 pounds but gained strength in my legs and picked up stamina. Now, at age 93, I’m on the same plant-based diet, and I still don’t eat any meat or dairy products. I either swim, walk, or paddle a canoe daily and I feel the best I’ve felt since my heart problems began.
Benjamin Spock M.D. (1903-1998)
IPBN FIVE STAR AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
FARM ANIMAL REFORM MOVEMENT
ALEX HERSHAFT, HERO
Alex Hershaft is exceptional. Bright and creative, he makes contributions to human betterment in many sectors and deserves formal recognition for all he does. Too few know this man. Everyone should. His leadership is a model worthy of study and emulation. Alex, you’re a hero.
Where to start? Maybe his 1999 address at Veg fest, the annual conference of the North American Vegetarian Society deserves mention. It was clever, insightful and entertaining. Alex held the crowd’s attention with a review of expectations and realities. The gist was this: We expected health food stores to proliferate, but what happened was even better – supermarkets expanded the offering of veganic and organic foods. That’s just one example of the storyline. It was so good that several publications reprinted the script and FARM will undoubtedly send a copy to whomever missed it. Twas great, Alex.
Alex is generous. To honor his Mother, Sabina, he set up a plant-based nutrition education fund which allows FARM to make project grants. And then he donated a large sum to further extend its outreach. But then Alex has been donating to good causes, way beyond the ordinary call of duty, for over 25 years. In fact, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area to serve “the movement” and he certainly has. Not just money and time, though. Alex has served as mentor to many developing leaders in the human and fellow creature rights, vegetarian, vegan, plant-based nutrition and ethics movements. At this moment, there are probably half a dozen eager to learn people, young and old, gathered at his house and FARM headquarters across the Capital Beltway from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. They would be studying how best to get out sane messages at this moment in history.
Alex has lived through and survived insane periods of history. Born in Germany during the Nazi reign, he survived through his Mother’s loving care. Coming to the United States following World War Two, his Mother and Alex were assigned to a chicken farm in New England. From concentration camps for humans to those for fellow creatures, Alex learned all there is to know about systematic and random abuse, injustice and the rationalizations of cruelty perpetrators. These awful experiences seasoned him for the work he does in behalf of fellow creatures and humankind. Despite terrible experiences during childhood, Alex is a sweetheart and a gentleman.
Meticulous with details, Alex was a professional chemist before embarking on his life cause. When he cites a fact it can be trusted and verified. He proceeds systematically and scientifically, ethically and morally, cautiously but with surety and confidence. Alex deserves credit for being the one who dutifully and diligently traipses from office to office at the United States Department of Agriculture each year to find out and share with the world the annual headcount of fellow creatures slaughtered. Billions and billions, and the numbers are rising as smaller mammals are being increasingly preferred over the larger ones. As more and more fellow creature lives are taken, Alex keeps the count and sees that it gets publicized, whether in publications and other media or by posters and banners he displays while standing boldly regardless of season directly in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. He sends out Press Releases and has a very successful letters-to-the-editor campaign which gently persists – essentially everywhere. In FARM publications, Alex reminds persistently of the horror of these numbers. It’s his job, self-assigned, and he does it well. Nobody else could do it as well. And what a good writer and proofreader! FARM publications are meticulously accurate, precise and correct. Whatever he does is done well. Alex deserves credit for caring and carrying out needed work which makes the world better.
So, if he is magnanimous, generous and meticulous, what are his weaknesses? Well, some of his friends think it would be good if he would eat a bit more and gain a little weight. Yes, every one of them is jealous of this trim, fit, buoyant vegan who leads folk dancing and swims regularly. On the other hand, maybe Alex is right again and it is his friends ought to trim a little…. Oh, yes, he is shy, or is it modesty and humbleness? Whatever, it wears well. Alex is lovable and loved.
What precipitated these current accolades was the Summer 2000 Animal Rights Leadership Conference Alex Hershaft designed and carried out last July. He thought of everything and it was a splendid success. As many as a thousand came to the Hilton Hotel in McLean, Virginia for a full week of programs and festivities. No short schedule here, but something for everyone and a new surge of participants arriving every day up to the very end. The usual speakers were there – sporting FARM t-shirts and greeting and cheering in the rights advocate flock filled hallways. No one saw Alex much though, because he was behind the scenes making sure everything worked well – which of course it did because every detail was handled efficiently with aplomb. Exhibitors were nearly overwhelmed by the exuberant crowd. One vendor had to restock continually and said “We have never had a better time.” as the vegan products cash registers rang. Crowded and delightful, conversations at the tables in the hallways went on day and night. Alex knows how to throw a party. Speakers were good, advocates gathered and galvanized for action. It was a wonderfully structured event which felt comfortable and unstructured. That’s the beauty of Alex’s style.
But for this expose’, too few would realize Alex’s masterful contributions and diligent hard work. He is the consummate moral activist, delicately always on the right track. At the conclusion of this gigantic and euphoric Conference, many marched, placarded, leafleted and lobbied legislators in the United States Capitol. All the way through, people ate. Banquets were great, and the alternative venues for vegan foods were also the best ever.
Shy Alex picks good people and in assigning hotel restaurant foodservice to adept and experienced vegans he made history again by introducing menus using recipes from Incredibly Delicious, The Vegan Paradigm Cookbook (Gentle World, 2000). It was wondrous and all were pleased. The hotel kitchen staff was very pleased and it won’t be surprising if they offer a few vegan food selections on their own. “Really good stuff,” one chef said, “we’re eating it ourselves – and like it.” Alex deserves credit for this leap forward. Deer and Justice demonstrated how magically Gentle World people work, and they deserve credit for coordinating chefs, cooks and food suppliers to feed people well – 100% vegan – in every restaurant and banquet hall in the hotel.
Who but Alex would approach billboard companies and persuade them to post the kinds of information FARM disseminates? He did it, here and there where a few dollars could be scraped up and a sign company was tolerant. Given sufficient funds and encouragement, he’d plaster the world with his messages: killing fellow creatures is unnecessary, wrong and bad for human health; farm animals deserve freedom to live natural lives; veganic-organic foods can protect and improve human health; and we all ought to be more thoughtful and kinder. These are just a few of the things for which Alex Hershaft deserves credit and accolades. Alex Hershaft is a hero.
Contact him at: FARM, Box 30654, Bethesda, Maryland 20824. TEL: 888-FARM-USA FAX: 301-530-5747 EMAIL: email@example.com WEBSITE: www.farmusa.org
PLASTICS CONTAIN TALLOW
Awful revelations seem never to cease. Here is a new one. Tallow and other non-plant based oils are used in the manufacture of many plastics and give these polymers the slick smooth sheen people love to feel…. Ugh.
Freya Dinshah, working with grocery store suppliers, learned some years ago from a manufacturer representative that “rendering plant fats are used in plastics and when microwaved may transfer to the enclosed foods.” It’s enough to make vegans shudder all around the world.
Rejoicing that cornstarch and other plant-based products are being made into “recyclable” plastic sheeting and films, vegans must be advised that these new “breakthrough” plastics which satisfy ecological objectives may contain tallow and other fellow creature fats. Of course it has all been “processed” they may be told. That’s an old cover-up word.
At IPBN, for decades, foods have been stored in glass containers for the most part. But the reason has been to provide airtight seals as well as to avoid the suspicious oiliness. Glass has just seemed better. Tin used to rust. Paper containers fell apart and let insects in and out. And there’s been no microwave around IPBN for years. Michael Klapper M.D. advised that the high powered electrical bombardment might possibly alter good chemical chains in pure foods. But tallow in plastic was never suspected. Oh dear, what to do now?
“Quick, Henry a fix!” Ah, yes, hope is on the way, and from long Kosher conscious Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Still, who would have expected this?
The call came as a surprise. “Hello, this is Dell Riley at ERC ©. Premier En’Tre here in Lancaster has been established to spearhead an effort with the plastics industry to remove all animal based sterates from polymer utilized in packaging and foodservice products. Along with astute plastic industry leaders and some of the world’s most highly respected religious leaders, Premier En’Tre has developed a proprietary protocol to follow the strict religious practices of keeping ‘Kosher’ the ERC © way.”
Could you repeat that? Slowly….
“ERC © stands for Ethically and Religiously Compliant.”
Yes. That makes sense. Are there slaughterhouse sterates in plastics?
“There sure are. We have a proprietary process for replacing them with vegetable oils. When can our team visit and brief IPBN and American Vegan Society staff in the Philadelphia area?
The sooner the better. Hurry. There’s space in the Fall issue of PLANT-BASED NUTRITION to get this in if you can get here quick. And can you fax the details?
“On the way!”
Premier En’Tre affiliate Premier Classic Containers made a valuable discovery when a catalyst was discovered to allow vegetable oils to be used in making an exclusive array of high quality plastic storage containers and lids which are free from animal by-products. Dishwasher, freezer and microwave “safe,” the products are distinctive and practical. Another affiliate, Premier Resins distributes a line of ERC © certified polypropylene and polyethylene resins available to the plastics industry. With burgeoning opportunity pressing, Premier En’Tre staff are “looking for aggressive worldwide territory sales representatives, distributors, dealers and marketing agents to penetrate key industry segments.”
Veganomics at work, evolving before the eyes of any who will see what is happening. Can’t be stopped, too efficient and appropriate to compete against. The time has come….
For further information contact Dell Riley at Premier En’Tre Corporate Headquarters, World Industries Center, 313 Liberty Place, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17603. TEL: 717-290-8200 FAX: 717-392-3707 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE: premiercontainers.com Let them know who sent you and please keep IPBN informed regarding plastic related experiences as the industry slowly veganizes. Get rich veganomically if you can, and help others.
Why Lancaster County? Last century cork importers developed the concept of insulated buildings for cold food storage and then branched into linoleum which is ground cork on hemp canvas plasticized with flax seed oil and baked into endless sheets rolled and the cut to fit flooring needs. Plastic foam took over the insulation industry and petroleum-based plastics from nearby refineries and chemical plants took over flooring. But chemists who know plastics abound in the area and, as petroleum and perhaps even waste fats from rendering plants become more expensive, they understand how to shift from source to source. Throw in the fact that Kosher suppliers also abound to serve the nearby urban populations of Megalopolis and the story begins to make sense. Rabbis and chemists…oil supply problems…cork scarcity…Kosher consciousness…large-scale foodservice container and Kosher producers….awareness…realization…conversations…banker excitement…veganomic entrepreneurialism…a new star is born…. Imagine what’s next. Maybe linoleum again – improved though and maybe using some filler other than cork….
Plant-based economies are nothing new. Consider Eden. That was early veganomics.
Eastern Europe had a tree based model economy before World War Two. A Pennsylvania State University professor recommended a tree centered plant-based food, fiber and fuel producing economy for the Commonwealth in the1920s. Rayon an “artificial silk” was progressing in America until petroleum based nylon outmaneuvered it in the 1930s. Several states are currently planning plant-based fuel manufacturing plants which will, use corn and other cheap grains as the chemical in making ethanol to energize 21st Century vehicles. Making paper and paint out of industrial grade hemp plants was efficient until the 1938 debacle which illegalized and shifted wealth from farmers to forest cutters and petroleum producers; these technologies are cycling back. British engineers and chemists discovered that wheat straw highly compressed bonded into plastic insulating boards from which thousands of buildings have been constructed around the world. Anyone who will investigate will find chemicals galore and plenty of other materials in simple plants sufficient replace all products currently derived from fellow creature corpses.
GROW $20,000 IN YOUR BACK YARD
Leave it to MOTHER EARTH NEWS to figure out “how to start a back yard nursery.” Author Michael J. McGroarty describes this in “GROWING GREENBACKS”, November, 2000, Pages 40-44. He presents a time-tested and photographically illustrated plan for utilizing backyard space as a profitable start-up business. He describes propagating techniques, soil building, plant tending and wholesale and retail selling strategies. He invites visitors to his website: freeplants.com and offers a $3.00 booklet to guide interested entrepreneurs. Veganic-organic veganagro guidelines would be best for such an operation. While trees are growing, herbs, vegetables, berries and edible ornamental plants might also prove fruitful. Fruit trees and vines are needed and in demand.
It is the diet which maintains true health and becomes the best chi.
Shin-fuang-ti, Chinese Philosopher
IPBN *****FIVE STAR QUALITY
Thanks to George Forman who sells those grilling appliances local stores offered a small version which was inexpensive enough for a test run in the IPBN kitchen. Would it grill vegetable slices and char them with the attractive black lines current food photographers present as desirable, Sure enough, eggplant slabs browned nicely and cooked well inside, and carrot slices browned too.
Then the revelation occurred.
Out of bread and lacking wholegrain burger buns, with a package of frozen BOCA Vegan burgers in hand, standing looking in the refrigerator a partially used package of wholegrain English muffins captured the eye. Why not try these too in the new grilling machine?
First the vegan burgers were grilled, and they came out nicely. Then the muffin halves were grilled and they too were fine. The miracle here is that onion and tomato slices came out about the same size as the vegan burger patties and muffins to make quite a nice handful. Yes, lettuce, pickles and onions were added, mustard and both Nayonaise and Vegenaise. Splendid. Quick to fix and crowd pleasers. That first night three people each ate two and were very full. The scale of these IPBN MiniBurgers is perfect.
Then came early Fall.
Preparing for a driving trip cross country it appeared obvious that these wholegrain vegan muffins and burger patties were just too good to leave behind. So they were carefully packed between ice slabs in a standard insulated “cooler” and off drove the crew. The inventory lasted 1,700 miles and though thawed the BOCA Vegan burgers held up well over three days on ice with outside temperatures exceeding 112 degrees Fahrenheit. (The old automobile’s new air conditioner also worked well.) Now the George Foreman grilling machine seemed too fine to pack and carry, so it was left behind and a decision was made to use whatever toasters happened to be available at local motel stops. The finale was stealthy unobtrusive silent preparation while being observed by non-vegan white flour and white sugar bagel devotees, mostly coffee drinkers, at a Travelodge in Amarillo, Texas. Four beautiful IPBN MiniBurgers were constructed – after the components were well toasted in a standard two-slices-at-a-time appliance in the lobby of the motel. It was a breakfast treat and they were eaten plain. No western pioneer ever ate better. Toasted burger patties between toasted muffin halves. Straight and good. Orange juice was free.
No one said a word. The now empty BOCA Vegan burger package was propped picture side facing viewers safely beside the toaster in hopes someone might notice.
Motel proprietors and staff, be alerted. Stocking Vegan burger patties and wholegrain English muffins in your freezers can provide some wonderful plant-based nutrition for your guests. Perhaps signs can be posted: “If it ain’t vegan, it ain’t breakfast.” Maybe a singalong?
Salads made of greens should always be served crisp and cold. The vegetables should be thoroughly washed, allowed to stand in cold or ice water until crisp, then drained and spread on a towel and set aside in a cold place until serving time….
Fannie Merritt Farmer, The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, 1896
NEW IPBN MEMBERS
Still numbered in hundreds, not thousands, IPBN members are around the globe. The three newest members reside in Egypt, Australia and Virginia, U.S.A. Welcome to them. As usual, so long as it remains possible, available back issues of PLANT-BASED NUTRITION are given to new members to “catch them up” so to speak. While IPBN membership is confidential, it is impressive indeed to review the listing of names and see how many prominent leaders are enrolled. This is a diverse group stretching across America with concentrations in major urban areas but also represented in rural regions and internationally. From small farmers and gardeners to nutritionists and doctors, IPBN members are a high quality honorable assemblage. Member names are not for sale or traded or cited in any way. This is the way it started four years ago and there seems to be no reason to change. IPBN is striving to be a good charitable organization and serve its members at the lowest possible cost while encouraging them to be as charitable as they can in their own areas to advance plant-based nutrition education widely.
A member of several years has the spirit. She called recently from mid-America to advise that she’d been out giving vegan books to local libraries and was receiving positive responses wherever she went. Emboldened, she’s also been writing letters to certain religious leaders in her faith asking questions regarding why they haven’t discouraged slaughter of fellow creatures and awakened to the facts indicating that eating fellow creatures is correlated with the major diseases. She is receiving some nice thoughtful letters back and feels like some respondents are reflecting positively. She, and her equally joyous and energetic husband, enjoy health as never before – since they made that fruitfully fortuitous mistake several years ago and wound up at an Annual Conference of the American Vegan Society on the West Coast in Olympia, Washington. “Boy, we really learned a lot,” he has been saying since. Now they have learned so much that they are giving back to their community and that is exactly what IPBN has hoped to help bring about.
As long as humans have lived on this planet, they have lived in fear of the violence of other humans. Evolution to a vegan consciousness will replace that fear with trust; and trust will lead to love; the only true religion; the source of all healing.
SUN, Gentle World Co-Founder
IPBN ***** FIVE STAR AWARD FOR VEGAN QUALITY
RAPUNZEL RAPIDURA WHOLE CANE SUGAR
Came a letter from Eckhart Kiesel, Operations Manager at Rapunzel – Pure Organics Since 1979. “We confirm to you that no animal products come in contact with the sugar cane juice during and after the process in making Rapadura whole cane sugar. In particular we confirm that the filters, through which the sugar juice is passed, are made of diatomaceous earth.” Dated March 28, 2000. Addressed to Institute for Plant Based Nutrition. In response to IPBN oral request at Penton Natural Foods EXPO West in Anaheim, California, as promised by Eckhart Kiesel…. This nice letter sent “With Best Regards” is very much appreciated.
Pass the word far and wide. RAPIDURA WHOLE CANE SUGAR is a vegan quality product as are other fine nutritional items available from RAPUNZEL, Box 350, 122 Smith Road, Kinderhook, New York 12106. TEL: 800-207-2814 FAX: 518-758-6493 EMAIL: email@example.com WEBSITE: www.rapunzel.com
Thanks Eckhart. You are a ***** FIVE STAR QUALITY PROFESSIONAL. Keep up the good work and give the world even more vegan quality products such as *****RAPIDURA.
While antibacterial products are popular, studies indicate that they do no better than soap and water. Some scientists even worry that they may do more harm than good..
Washouts in the war on germs?
Kelly Woo, staff writer, in The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 24, 2000
This new vegan products consumer and industry support website is under construction and has its first vendor listings signed up. Vegan product producers should contact VeganQuality.Com, 333 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania 19004-2606. TEL: 610-667-6876.
Well, Gentle World Inc. has evolved into a publisher with four outstanding titles in print: Incredibly Delicious, The Vegan Paradigm Cookbook ink has recently dried and this newest offering is available from any book supplier in the world. Three earlier books include: The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals by Gentle World, Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet by Michael A. Klaper M.D. and Vegan Nutrition: Pure & Simple also by Michael Klaper M.D. These four books are more than major contributions to vegan literature; they are the state of the art. Since 1979, when it incorporated in Florida, Gentle World Inc. has been “a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the prevention and alleviation of human and animal suffering, specifically by educating the public as to the health, environmental, ethical and spiritual benefits of the vegan diet and lifestyle.” Pretty serious folks and marvelously successful at achieving goals.
But this is supposed to be a book review, critical and sage. Just buy the book! It will bless your life. Since you are going to soil and wear it out, buy two. Order a dozen to distribute as gifts and place in libraries. It just can’t get any better than this. A supreme opus. Here is the everything you need to know book. And reading it is fun as well as educational. Mouth watering….
Consider this sample recipe for a Barley-Pecan Loaf: In a blender mix ¼ cup of oil, 5 garlic cloves, 1 ½ cup mashed tofu, 1 cup water, 2 Tablespoonfuls tahini, ½ teaspoonful curry, ½ t pepper, 1 T Spike Seasoning and 2 T nutritional yeast. Combine the blended mixture in a large bowl with 8 cups cooked barley (2-3 cups dry grain before cooking), 2 cups grated carrots, ½ cup chopped pecans and 1 t paprika. Mix well. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes. Cool before serving with the gravy of choice. Just one recipe of hundreds, yet “not one of our all time favorites” says Gentle World representative Flowers. “Our favorites are East Carrot-Grain Loaf, Super Vegan Burgers, Chinese Medley, Gourmet Lasagna, Potato Wellington and Tofu ‘Omlette.’” Buy the book. Relish the recipes and other text. Try them all.
Table of Contents at the back, on page 304… Some 35 sumptuous categories: “Bread & Breakfast” (50 recipes), “Scrumptious Salads & Soups” (63 recipes), “Dips, Dressings, Sauces & Gravies” (62 recipes), “Appetizers & Side Dishes” (53 recipes), “Entrees” (97 recipes), “‘Rawsome’ Recipes” (123), “Just Desserts” (77 recipes), plus “The Vegan Paradigm” and a plethora of monographs, hundreds of veganic philosophy quotes. Just fabulous, the whole thing.
Beautiful work, friends, you are beautiful people.
Incredibly Delicious: The Vegan Paradigm weighs 1.85 pounds per copy and can be ordered from Gentle World Inc., Box 238, Kapa au, Hawaii 96755 Tel: 808-884-5551 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE: www.veganbooks-gentle.com The cost is $22.50 plus $4.30 shipping. Joy is the publications manager awaiting your requests. All Gentle World publications are also available from the American Vegan Society, Box 369, Malaga, New Jersey 08328. (TEL: 856-694-2887 FAX: 856-694-2288) And anyone who donates US$100.00 to IPBN will receive copies of all four Gentle World books postpaid in North America as well as a paid-up Year 2001 membership and personal handwritten thank you note. That’s right, it does not get better than this. Veganism is advancing with Gentle World leadership in the forefront. Hurrah!
The Vegan Paradigm Cookbook
Gentle World friends have done it again. Light. Sun. Sky. Golden. Joy. Flowers. Birds. Summer. Home. Justice. Deer. Beautiful and Pleasure are canine fellow creatures. All these are joyous souls and this is a great big wonderful book representing their love for everyone. Three hundred and four delightful pages with large print in an 8 ½ x 11 inch format with lay flat binding in a colorful cover. Hundreds of recipes. Philosophy on almost every page. Plant-based nutrition supply sources. Organization lists. A bibliography. Definitions. Glossary. Index. Even two pages of “Recommended Kitchen Appliances.” What more can they do except move in and take charge of preparing every meal?
Who on earth are these people? Gentle World? Where do they live and why do they make these contributions to the general welfare of all? Are they idealists of some sort out to educate others? Just what are they about?
The Gentle World team of evolutionaries resides in Hawaii, and now New Zealand also. From this paradise, individuals make occasional forays to the mainland say to feed a thousand people in Arlington, Virginia gathered for the Animal Rights Leadership Conference last July, or in earlier years to feed hundreds vegan cuisine at Hollywood banquets. They get around as needed and called for. To say they are self-sufficient or survivalists would be an understatement. To some they may resemble an “intentional family” among the like-minded advanced vegans who find and join them. They use their names for inspiration, each a goal to live up to. For these humble friends, sun, water, trees and a little soil are sufficient to re-make Eden wherever they are. They adopt names expressing how they feel at a given time and judging by their selections no one ever has a bad day. Full of love people, does that communicate a sense of burgeoning joyousness and vigor? They collaborate and produce superior produce. They eat produce and advocate plant-based nutrition as demonstrative vegans carrying out professional roles as gardeners, farmers, cooks, conference cuisine coordinators, writers, illustrators, publishers, seminar presenters, computer programmers, lawyers…whatever needs to be done. They are better than ordinary professional performers, however, they smile, make people feel good, maintain humbleness and credit others generously. Vegan idealists indeed. Community builders.
The dream started in New York State over thirty years ago. Evolution progressed to Maui where, maybe eleven or so years ago, Gentle World People started a restaurant. Though “The Vegan Restaurant” was sold to others about six years ago, it has continued operating seven days a week every lunch and dinner under a succession of several newer managements captivated by the idea. On the side, as they are entrepreneurial vegans, a wheatgrass business and wholesale food distribution were conducted to keep the veganic education ball rolling forward, feed the team and provide more funds for outreach. (A retired couple from the Hudson River Valley in New York State bought the Maui operation this year and at last report had arrived and begun their stewardship, keeping things going, casually, deliciously, just as in the past. Some have reported
OAT ICE CREAM MADE FROM OATS
Ice cream sells. Make it out of oats and water and people will love it even more. This is a “heart healthy” cholesterol reducing food product under United States Food and Drug Agency regulations. At OatsCream home base in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sales are up and dissemination widespread as this product achieves veganomic success nationally. Consisting only of micro pulverized oats and water with whatever flavoring is desired, OatsCream is a nutritious frozen soft vegan-ice-cream which is essentially sugar and fat free. Nothing toxic here, very few suffer allergies to oats. Every town and village needs an OatsCream dispensary. It is a great dessert following a vegan pizza dinner. Wherever people gather, at parties and beaches and parades and fairs, OatsCream can be profitable. Coast-to-coast, distributors can supply it to retailers of every sort.
Jesse Ventura: Please promote this excellent product. It could be the official refreshment of Wrestlemania events. Serve it in the State Capitol and let people compare this plant-based nutrition confection with anything else they like. It can win hearts, woo palates and perhaps bring in praise for anyone wise enough to promote it on the campaign trails. If you like it, so will most others. Time for NON-DAIRY KING from Minnesota across America!
OatsCream is about as simple as a product can be: a frozen block of oat puree to which water and any natural flavoring are added while the ingredients are being blended in any ordinary soft-ice-cream machine. It can maintain quality all day, continually blending and staying almost frozen, available when the spigot is turned and cold, smooth, delicious OatsCream is removed as needed.
Help spread OatsCream consumption by contacting: American Oats Inc., 952-473-4738.
GARLIC KALE POTATO SOUP
Peel every clove of a whole garlic bulb and set them to boiling in about two quarts of pure water. When the aroma is strong and the cloves are nearly soft, add chunks from two whole russet potatoes. When chunks are thoroughly cooked, add around four cups of coarsely torn kale leaves.
Jim and Dorothy Oswald
Institute for Plant Based Nutrition
A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE INSTITUTE FOR PLANT-BASED NUTRITION
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