Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The What? Why? and Really?: In Vitro Beef

Scientists in the Netherlands are working overtime to try and unveil the first beef patty made in the lab by this year October.  Thinking about that suddenly made my appetite non-existent.  Straight up unsettling. 

Photo from VegNews

The best response for this is literally,"What? Why? and Really?".  Are these really the options we have to consider in order to combat the problem of meat-production exacerbating global warming?  This is some next stuff right here. 

The beef is grown using cow stem cells and is expected to replicate the same texture and taste as "real beef".  This endeavor is a response to the widespread concern about the harmful effects meat-production is having on our environment.  The scientists are hoping that this will be a cost-effective and sustainable solution for the future.  The final product will start out at a superfluous price of $350,000 a portion.   Ummmm, I think you lost the battle before it started bud.  The price is expected to scale down with the increase of mass production and consumption over the next 10 years.  These scientists are not even playing around. They have a consortium!   

Photo from the article, "The Steak of the Art: The Fatal Flaws of In Vitro Meat"

Some scientists who have responded to this news don't seem that excited about it.  Scientist Christina Agapakis rather intelligently addresses the real challenges of such a proposal in the article, Steak of the Art: The Fatal Flaws of In Vitro Meat.  She highlights the already expensive and resource-heavy technique of culturing cells in petri dishes, the incredibly labor intensive task of maintaining and growing the cultures in vats free of contamination and the use of elaborate technology to exercise the meat with stretching machines, technology of which has not even been invented yet.  She's pretty beast in her objective and analytical assessment of the implication of this vision of the future:  

"Even beyond this mechanical engineering issue, when we consider the other raw materials, the nutrients that will feed and sustain these stem cells as they grow into our dinner, the large scale sustainability of in vitro meat can be called into question.  In fact, of the fantastic claims of lab-grown meat, the most far-fetched given the current technology is that in vitro meat will be cruelty-free.   In vitro meat proposals imagine a "donor herd" of cows that will give some cells to make meat without having to be slaughtered, so yes, the first in vitro hamburger, if it is successfully unveiled this October, will be made of cells that started out as just a few cow stem cells from a still-living cow.  But donor cells aren't the only animal product needed to grow in vitro hamburgers; the growth medium that provides nutrients, vitamins and growth hormones to cells is currently made with a mixture of sugars and amino acids supplemented with fetal bovine serum---literally the blood of unborn cows."

She also goes into detail about algae as a possible replacement for the fetal bovine serum and discusses how it isn't any more cost effective to use our little green friend that sustains the entire marine world.  

She concludes with a simple yet profound series of statements:

"Grand technological fixes can look good if you don't peer too close at their workings...the meat problem won't really be solved with flashy tech...The real issue is the ever-growing demand, and our unwillingness to eat less of it, regardless of the environmental cost."

Sources in full:
In Vitro Beef Breakthrough
Steak of the Art: The Fatal Flaws of In Vitro Meat

Thank you for reading.  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The What? Why? and Really?: Inside the Twinkie

Photo: Credit: Baltimore Sun

The Twinkie.  
An American Icon.  
The Ultimate Childhood Snack.  

I have a little Twinkie history for you today.  It's good to gain knowledge from all areas of life, ehhh?  

Birth date: 1933 (Twinkie is an old man)
Father: The Continental Baking Company (The same company that made Wonder Bread)
Mother: Hostess ("carried" by this snack line).  Haha! Everyone has a few cornball moments that they relish.

It originally began as a strawberry shortcake but soon folk realized that strawberry bushes don't bear fruit all year round so they decided to fill the off-season with banana cream-filled Twinkies.  Next, the Great Depression sadly yanked away all the bananas and they ended up with a vanilla cream filling that they never changed again until this day.  I'm really pulling a fast one with the history.  Reminds me of 5th grade research papers.  My info source: Twinkies.  Judge me and I smack you.   
Jay Kay.  No damaging my people! :)

The most interesting fact is that the Twinkie was MOST popular during the 1960's when there was widespread fear of nuclear attacks by Russia and China.  Twinkies were said to "stay fresh forever" so people bought a ton of them for their bomb shelters.  Now that is an interesting thought. Why exactly do Twinkies stay fresh forever?  If we employ a conditional claim here, we may be able to figure this out.  We know that food and other living things do not stay fresh forever.  We humans don't even stay fresh forever because we get less fresh every year.  That means that non-living material stays fresh forever because it does not change.  So if Twinkies "stay fresh forever", then Twinkies must not change.  Thus, they must be non-living material and should probably be classified more as an inanimate object than food.  Boom. Bam. Done.  Swarthmore taught me well  :)

Let's take a peak at what's really inside:

Photo Credit: Dwight Eschliman
I got this photo from The Daily Beast.  It looks more like a chemistry poster.  For real.  Truth is, it isn't much different than what's in all the other junk food out there.
I see you High-Fructose.  Don't even try to hide in the fine print.  Talking about some "regular" corn syrup.  You are not regular.  You cause people to gain weight at an extremely accelerated rate.  Trifling.

My people, I want you all to live the good life, so why eat this when you can eat THIS:

I would gladly spend 10 minutes whipping this up for you instead of giving you a $1 for old man Twinkle Toes.  He's croak-ready, so let him be!

Thank you for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much. Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I love Panera Bread.  It was definitely the spot where the Davis girls (my sisters and I) would hangout during the holidays or whenever we got together.  One of my favorites items to order was the broccoli cheddar soup.  It was so creamy and cheesy and delicious!  The goodness in that soup was just amazing.  When I decided to go full on bird food, I really missed my broccoli cheddar soup.  I longed for it for a while until I realized that I could veganize it.  

Veganize it I did and I came up with this ridiculously easy recipe.

You will need:  

2 - 3 heads of broccoli (it depends on how big your broccoli is.  This amount represents what I have in the photo below)
3 potatoes
1/4 of a red bell pepper
1/4 of a green bel pepper
1/2 of an onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup of cashews
5 - 6 sprigs of thyme
2 cups of water
salt to taste 

Chop the peppers, onions and garlic.  Cut the potatoes into chunks.  Separate the broccoli florets into one inch pieces.  Blend your cashews.  A little trick I use is to blend the cashews dry and then add one cup of water.  It tends to get quite messy when you try to blend it all at once.   This is usually a problem for regular blenders but not for a Vitamix.  Add the second cup after the cashews and water have become a cream.  Blend until smooth.  Pour the cashew milk into a medium sized-pot like the one shown below.  Add the onions and garlic and allow them to flavor the cashew milk for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the chopped ingredients and salt, stir and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the thyme and bring the heat down to a low setting and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Boom.  Bam.  Done!  Another little trick that my sister taught me when using thyme is to tie it on a string and then add it to the soup.  This prevents the twig-like portions from falling into the soup and you having to pick them out as you eat.  Food has a good way of telling you when it is ready.  If your kitchen becomes deliciously fragrant, it's time.....................which will usually be around 20-25 minutes.  







More Goodness!!


Thank you for reading.  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

From Average Man to Super Human

The effects of Bangin' Bird Food are on a Dragon Ball Z Super Saiyan level!  
Photo Credit: CKY1988

Loved that show when I was a kid.  
Heyyyy,  it was a good show.  :)
But for real, I keep hearing stories of people accomplishing some serious feats after becoming vegan.   I just found this story sometime ago from the HuffPost.  

Remember the Ultramarathoner Rich Roll?  He was a part of my post, Green Giant: Debunking the Myths of the Frail Vegan Man.  So basically, this is his twin.  

Photo Credit:

Scott Jurek is the name and he runs 100 mile races like it's a joke.  He has also written a book titled, Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness.  In the article, he talks about his decision to go all out on bangin' bird food and ditch everything animal.  Like he says, "So that was it.  No meat. No chicken. No fish. No dairy.  No animal products of any kind." 

He, like Rich Roll, had hardly anything considered real experience to prepare for his first amazing race.  The course he would run was in the mountains so a flat plain wasn't really what he should have been expecting.  Needless to say, that was where he trained.  He also had a couple of haters offering unwanted commentary with statements like, "He'll fade" or "Wait until the champ catches him, then he's toast".  Soooooo what happens when you put a seemingly unprepared ultra-marathoner and a vegan diet together.  A trail-blazing win in the Western States 100 mile race on the first try.   Is that not some super human type craziness?  Thing's not craziness at all.  A plant-based diet will put you on that level.  Without question.  Research proves it.   

Photo Credit: AdventureCORPS

He went on to win some more races like the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, the 135-mile Spartathlon and the Hardrock 100, "the most difficult 100 mile trail race in the world.  Wow!  In addition to winning races, Jurek details physical improvements in his overall health.  He talks about his blood pressure and cholesterol levels dropping dramatically and having pretty much zero inflammation after he just finished "miles of pounding trails and roads".  Even injuries healed up quickly.  "On the rare occasions that I sprained an ankle or fell and whacked my elbow or wrist, the soreness left faster than it ever had before."  

You think what this man has done is shocking?  I like the way he puts it: "A delicious, affordable diet that will make you healthier and support the most difficult physical challenges you could ever encounter.  Now that's shocking."

Now, I'm not particularly down with running for like five days but I am down with getting on my super human game with some bangin' bird food. What do you say?  You with me?

Thank you for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy. Ciao!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The What? Why? and Really?: What Happens in Your Body When You Eat Ramen and Gatorade

This has to be one of the MOST INTERESTING videos I have ever seen!  The idea behind it is so creative and the creator of the idea is a beast of a woman.  Her name is Stephanie Bardin and she is a TEDxManhattan Fellow.  She is working on this project in conjunction with a Harvard professor, Dr. Braden Kuo.  The project is built around the "first ever clinical trial to look at the impact of processed food versus whole food on the human body".  You would think I was getting ready to tell you about her research background and that she is currently a professor at Harvard University researching the blah, blah, blah of such and such.  Come to find out this woman is actually an artist.  On the TEDxManhattan website,  she is described as a "media maker exploring the intersection of art, technology, science, visual culture and community".  Her current work revolves around the role technology plays in our food system and is titled "The Pharmacology of Taste".  What a creative smarty.  I Love it!

Photo Credit: Stefani Bardin

She is using two capsules, M2A™: The Fantastic Voyage and SmartPill, which she calls "immersive" installations. They have the ability to capture video and record time, respectively. Read more about it here.  It is basically the real life version of this:

Seeeeeee, now I have to post this too:

Movies and music back in the day.  I Love it too!  Though she didn't use any shrunken people, it serves the same purpose: to allow us to see what is really happening inside out bodies.  

Wow!  Technology blows my mind.  The things you saw in movies as a kid are now everyday occurrences.  From holograms to this.  I'm curious to see what we do next.  

Went on a bit of a tangent there.  I get a little excited about this stuff. :)

It's pretty simple.  She compared two similar meals:  

Gatorade/Ramen/Gummi Bears 
Hibiscus Drink/Homeade Broth with Noodles/Gummi Bears Made of Juice.  

She also happens to mention, along with other questionable ingredients, that ramen contains tBHQ, the petroleum-based chemical additive in McNuggets that I talked about in the What? Why? and Really? post, McFrankenstein Chicken Nuggets.

Ok, so what happens in the video? 
Let's just say it's not looking good for the Processed Team.  After a good period of time had passed, the ramen was still quite similar to its original form with not very much deterioration happening and a tint of the gatorade color was still present.  The homemade meal was heavily digested.

I'll just let you see for yourself.

Thank you for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Knowledge Addicts: The Harvard Meat Study

Today's dose of knowledge is coming from our very own Harvard University and a study they published back in March 2012.  The actual release date was March 12, 2012.

Title: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality, Archives of Internal Medicine

Harvard University is one of the most influential institutions to date.  Anything coming out of it will be either readily respected, promoted and most times accepted by the mainstream and the public.  So when this came out three months ago, I was like, "FOR REAL!".  This would gain the attention of many and people would be more inclined to consider it with an open mind.  It would also further provide support for the benefits of a plant-based life.  The overall study consisted of two portions.  One was the Harvard Health-Professional Follow-Up Study and the other was the Harvard Nurses Health Study.  The studies started back in the 80's.  All participants, a total of 120,000 people, were initially cancer free at the beginning of the study.  The researchers followed up with the individuals every 4 years.  At the end of the study, 24,000 were found to have died from mainly cancer and heart disease.  Now that number may seem small compared to the initial number of participants and the fact that people dying is a regular occurrence.  So what it this really saying?

The above video, created by Dr. Michael Greger, is an ON POINT summary of the entire study highlighting the most important findings.  Dr.  Greger is a beast at distilling complicated and dense research into language that anyone can understand.  Definitely check out his website and videos:

As is typical of his videos, the conclusion of the study was quickly pulled to the forefront and stated:

"Red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of, total CVD, and cancer mortality.  Substitution of other protein sources for red meat is associated with a lower mortality risk."
*CVD = cardio vascular disease

He also specified that they controlled for EVERYTHING: age, weight, smoking, exercise, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and so it made the distinctive and significant correlation between meat-eating and mortality more convincing.

Yessssssss, man!

In the press release, lead author and Harvard research associate, An Pan, said,"Our study adds more evidence to the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers in other studies.  Dr. Frank Hu, senior author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, added, "The study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death.  On the other hand, choosing more healthful sources of protein in place of red meat can confer significant health benefits by reducing chronic morbidity and mortality disease."  

Nahhhhhh, man!

He further recommended in an article from that we should move toward a plant-based diet saying, "I think the public health message is pretty straightforward.  We should switch from a red-meat based diet to a plant-based diet with healthier protein choices."

The Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard, Walter Willett, also recommends plant based protein in his guide to healthy eating.  He advices one to "pick the best protein packages by emphasizing plant sources of protein rather than animal sources."  Just an observation but if you check the link, he kinda has a Walt Whitman thing going on with the black and white, intense white facial hair and classic poetic pose.  Yes, my people, I'm being a rando but I'm glad that this information I am sharing with you is NOT random but one of countless other studies out there that support with even more evidence the amazing benefits of bangin' bird food.

Knowledge is MOST DEFINITELY power and I want you to have it.

Thank you for reading.  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Green Juice

Green juice?   You may be thinking that it may have a little too much plant-life in it for your liking but trust me.......................this concoction is a pleasantly surprising one.   This drink has served as a post-workout drink for me and a staple for many individuals eating a plant-based diet as well as those who don't.  It has become one of my all time favorite things to drink.  

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo: Credit:
Photo Credit: Edit4beauty

So you can't get passed the fact that this drink is completely green and looks like what would happen if V8 turned into the Hulk?  I know it looks a little intimidating or maybe even unappetizing but there is nothing to fear.  You have much more to gain from giving this a try.   Why do I say that? 
Well, green juice is banging for a couple of reasons:

  1. It replaces coffee.   I've never been a coffee drinker but I do have some mornings where my brain and my body are just not in harmony and I need some help.  This drink by far beats anything out there.  It wakes me up, gives me energy in the morning and continues to keeps me energized through the day.  Sometimes I think I'm a little too hype after drinking this.
  2. It nourishes your body.  It's crazy the amount of nutrients that I take in from this drink.  It allows me to consume a ton of veggies in one sitting and gives my cells the nutrients they need to operate at optimal level.  It's just wonderful.
  3. It keeps you flowing.  AKA it keeps you nice and regular. It is so important to keep your colon clean and constantly moving.  Things come in and should not overdue their stay!  You will most likely have no gastrointestinal issues after a glass of this.  
  4. Green is the color of life.  I really like the idea of putting life in my body!

So how do I go about making this green juice?

I got two versions for you.  One from me and one that my friend, Ruben, shared with me recently.  Green juice has a high-water content, which makes your cells very happy.  For me, it serves as a post-workout drink or a drink that I have with breakfast.  These two recipes are both delicious and are easily tweaked to your liking.

Bangin' Green Juice #1:  

1 orange
3 celery stalks
1/2 of a cucumber
1/2 of a zucchini
4 - 6 leaves of lettuce
1 and 1/2 - 2 inches of ginger
2 cups of water
1 pear

There is really no intense order for this recipe.   Peel your orange, pear and ginger.  Cut your veggies into chunks.  Add water, blend and drink.  Boom.  Bam.  Done!   I do this the Jamaican way, which means I blend everything and then pour it into a strainer and then I strain the juice.  I feel like I am wasting less that way.  This method also works for those who don't have a ridiculously amazing blender like a Vitamix or a juicer.  The other way, of course, is just to throw everything in a juicer if you have one!   The serving size is a lot because I usually make enough to store in a mason jar for the next day or so.

Bangin' Green Juice #2:
Apple/Celery/Broccoli Stalks/Kale Stalks/Pineapple/Cucumber/Lime

1 apple
3 celery stalks
2 - 4 broccoli stalks
5 - 6 kale stalks
2 cups of pineapple juice or a cup of fresh pineapple
1/2 cucumber
2 cups of water (if using fresh pineapple)
1 lime

This is exactly the same set-up as the last recipe.   You will just have to replace the pineapple juice with water if you are using fresh pineapple.  Peel fruits.  Cut veggies.  Boom.  Bam.  Done!

See how easy it is?   Kinda wanna try in now huh?   :)

You can vary the ingredients as much as you want.  Sometimes I even mix and match these two recipes.  I usually add lime and ginger to everything.  As you get the hang of this, you will start to know what you like and develop your own version.

A cool thing is that both of these recipes can actually serve as green smoothies as well if you simply add a little more water and blend until smooth.  This is actually how I have been drinking them lately.


Thank you for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Knowledge Addicts: The China Study

Knowledge Addicts  

The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health by Colin T. Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD

One word of advice: You MUST read this book!

A bestseller four times over, this book is truly revolutionary in its content.  It has single-handedly set the foundation for the health revolution that is growing across the country. It is quite literally PACKED with information and provides serious medical evidence that more than adequately supports the idea that a plant-based diet is truly remarkable.  Colin T. Campbell approaches this book from a variety of different angles, from recounting his life story to expounding on pages of research including his own to discussing the very real challenges and unfortunately unpleasant realities of the roles of government, medicine and education in the healthcare of America.

He begins the book with stories of his childhood upbringing on a dairy farm and the ideals and beliefs he developed about nutrition from an early age.  He builds on his story with his experiences as a graduate researcher isolating the toxic chemicals, aflatoxin and dioxin, and developing ways to make cows and sheep grow faster in an attempt to improve animal protein production.  Upon completing a nationwide project in the Philippines targeting malnourished Filipino children, he discovers something very interesting.  He finds that children exposed to aflatoxin were more likely to develop liver cancer when consuming a high-protein diet in comparison to a low-protein diet.  This was the turning point in his career and jump-started his research that has proved, with scientifically-based evidence, that a plant-based whole foods diet is the key to incredible and optimal health.

Get your tush to a library, turn on your kindle, jingle that wallet a little bit and get a copy.  Knowledge is MOST DEFINITELY power and I want you to have it.

If you are wondering to yourself if this book is worth your time because you may question its credibility, just check out the stats on the author.

Colin T. Campbell is the BOSS.  Point. Blank. Period.  A pioneer and leading researcher in the field of Nutritional Medicine.

He has:
  1. Served as the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry for several years at Cornell University.
  2. Taught in academia for 20 years
  3. Published countless articles in numerous professional journals
  4. Served as editor for the Journal of Nutrition and and Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences
  5. Served on national and federal committees and boards.
  6. Lectured extensively across the country

Here is his full C.V if you are curious: Curriculum Vitae

Thank you for reading.  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!