Author Archives: Vegetarians of Washington

Disney’s new Plant-Based Dining Guide

Disney hummus dish

Like many of Disney’s food offerings, some of the vegan dishes are themed to match their location. This hummus dish served at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is called a “Felucian Garden Spread,” a reference to a planet covered in overgrown plants in the Star Wars universe.

Disney World is the iconic destination for family vacations, but the food available hasn’t always been the best for health, the animals or the planet.  Recognizing that parents are looking for more plant-based options for their families, Disney has recently launched a new online Plant-Based Dining Guide. They are in the process of adding over 400 new plant-based menu items to their parks and properties, starting with Disney World in Orlando, FL this October.

“Our plant-powered cuisine is made with plant foods like grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruit—and no animal meat, dairy, eggs, or honey,” the guide states. “Whether you are looking for savory snacks, a quick meal or a 3-course dining experience, you’ll find more plant-based options at Walt Disney World Resort than ever before.”

The guide—which advises guests to look for a leaf symbol to locate plant-based dishes—is divided into Disney World’s various properties, including theme park Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom Park, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs, in addition to its boardwalk, water park, and hotels.

Even if you’re not vegan, the options look both plentiful and hunger-inducing. Some of the most enticing vegan dishes include Thai noodles or black bean chips with pineapple jalapeno hummus in Adventureland, a pineapple float in Aloha Isle, and plant-based meat substitutes like meatloaf in Liberty Square and a Southwest burger in Frontierland.

The online guide also notes which restaurants are quick service, table service, or available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It’s sure to be useful for families looking to enjoy their visit and not have to worry about finding good plant-based food to eat!

Joaquin Phoenix really cares

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix looks set to break some records as star of the new movie “The Joker”. He has also starred in numerous other movies, including “Her”, “Inherent Vice”, and his highest grossing movie (so far) “Gladiator”.  But in contrast to the character he portrays in his most recent movie, he’s actually a really warm and caring guy, especially for animals. Read more

Sick animals hurt!

Pig factoryIt hurts to be sick, and animals are no exception.  When animals are raised in factory farm conditions, they are usually crammed into small spaces, and held in very unhygienic conditions, such that diseases can run rampant. Sometimes these diseases spread from one factory to another causing a pandemic. Unfortunately farm animal disease pandemics plague our food system, destabilizing trade and markets and causing product shortages, and multiplying the amount of suffering that the animals themselves experience exponentially.

Over the past few months, news reports of China’s African swine fever problem, which is decimating the country’s pig population, have dominated agriculture and trade headlines. At any one moment, China houses half of all pigs in the world — up to 700 million animals — and scientists estimate that as many as half could be infected and killed once this epidemic has taken its full toll. Few talk about the tragedy of so many pigs suffering and dying.

Chicken factoryWhat about here in America? Despite rising sales of meat substitutes, the per capita meat consumption for the country as a whole has risen in the past few years. The most popular source of animal protein is chicken. We currently raise over 8 billion chickens every year. Chickens are packed wall to wall in dark warehouses across the country, often living in filth, until they are transported to slaughter and eventually end up on our dinner plates. These warehouses are breeding grounds for many diseases, from headliners like campylobacter and salmonella to lesser known but equally menacing ones. One such bacterial disease, gangrenous dermatitis, infects soft tissue and causes feather loss, dark red or blue-green lesions, and areas of macerated skin. Once infected, birds can die within 24 hours. Gangrenous dermatitis has been described as the “number one health problem” facing U.S. chicken companies.

Our chicken production system is so fragile and the birds so immunologically incompetent — due to overcrowding and stress — that to simply tour one of these facilities, one must wear protective clothing  to prevent disease entry from the outside.  Even so, epidemics can still  be spread.  Despite industry’s best efforts, animal disease pandemics continue to plague our food system, destabilizing trade and markets and causing product shortages and even more animal suffering.

It’s time to stop this risky, dangerous business which leads to so much animal suffering. The world will stop producing the meat, dairy and eggs raised under these conditions when we stop eating them.  In doing so we’ll not only reduce the risks to our own health, we’ll also save these poor animals from immense pain and suffering.

NY City Schools ban processed meat

Children eat healthy school lunchThere’s more good news from New York! New York City has the largest public school system in the country with a million students. We’ve written about several New York City public schools going all vegetarian.  Students, parents and teachers have been very happy at the results – they’re seeing healthier kids and better grades.

Building on that success, a few months ago the entire school system started a Meatless Mondays program. That’s Meatless Mondays for a million students, with the entire school district serving a fully vegetarian menu every Monday, starting this Fall.

In the latest news, New York is going forward with a citywide ban on processed meats in New York City schools. That means no more bologna, salami, pepperoni, or bacon on any day of the week. This is a good thing too. The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen placing it in the same category as cigarettes.

We’re impressed with the progress that New York City is making to help their kids be healthier. Come on Seattle! If New York City can do it, why can’t you?

Beans can save us!

Beans for beef

Beans alone can make the big difference in the global warming crisis.  Recently, a team of scientists from Oregon State University, Bard College, and Loma Linda University calculated just what would happen if every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef. They found that if everyone were willing and able to do that America could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals.

A relatively small, single food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact—more so than downsizing one’s car, or being vigilant about turning off light bulbs, and certainly more than reducing showering! Yes, those are still good things to do, but switching to beans has a much bigger impact on greenhouse gas emissions. And, as an extra benefit, the shift would free up 42% of US cropland.

While not currently recognized as a climate policy option, the “beans for beef” scenario offers significant climate change mitigation and other environmental benefits, illustrating the high potential of animal to plant food shifts.

Shifting dietary patterns for environmental benefits has long been advocated. Many researchers have highlighted the need for changes to food consumption in order to achieve needed greenhouse gas reductions. So far, food consumption has not been anchored in climate change policy to the same extent as energy production and usage, nor has it been considered within the context of achieving greenhouse gas targets to a level where tangible outputs are available.

Of course, as much good as switching beans for beef could do, the environment would benefit much, much more from a switch to an entirely plant-based diet. Learn more about how a plant-based diet can help not only global warming, but water pollution, soil erosion and ecological destruction.

Creamy & crunchy cashew recipes

cashewsCashews are native to South America, specifically Brazil, and were introduced by colonists to Africa and India. These regions are the largest producers of cashews today. Cashews are sold both raw or roasted, and salted or unsalted.  Choose raw unsalted

They are a soft and somewhat sweet nut, so can be used to make various dairy alternatives, such as cashew milk, cashew cream and non-dairy cheeses.

A 1-ounce serving of cashews is about 18 whole cashews. Cashews are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and a good source of protein. They’re also a good source of magnesium, which is important in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a health claim for food labels that “eating 1.5 oz per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Recipes

  • Cashew Cream – basic recipe
  • Vegan Mac n Cheese
  • Cashew Tacos
  • Broccoli and Cashews over Millet
  • Cashew Coconut Date Cookies

Read more

We’re cool with choline

Choline foodsThe next chapter in usual scare tactic of “if you follow a plant-based diet, you’ll be missing something and get into all kinds of trouble” is choline.

A new opinion piece in the British Medical Journal—by an author with egg and meat industry ties and who is concerned with “accelerated food trends towards plant-based diets/veganism”—is stirring up all kinds of confusion about choline, so we thought we’d clear the air and share the facts. Read more

« Older Entries