Choosing Raw Weekend Reading

Another week, and I’m finally getting the swing of things here. The apartment is looking good, and I’m catching up on my nutrition counseling and signing on a lot of new clients, and life is falling into place. Moving week eats aside, I can’t wait to share a little more food here on CR. So, that’s coming soon. In the meantime, you can savor food from some of my foodie friends.

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Heaven in a mason jar: Allyson’s roasted strawberry and vanilla almond parfaits.

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Grilled flatbread. Comfort food at its very finest! I can’t wait to try my hand at this.

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…and if you need something to dip your flatbread in, go ahead and drown it in Ashley’s stone fruit guacamole. Yum.

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Amaranth flatbread with fig, corn, and shallots. So creative!

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And finally, speaking of creative, a savory vegan red velvet cake, made with beets and a hummus frosting. Such a cool idea!

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1. Cynthia Sass weighs in (no pun intended) on intermittent fasting. Surprised that she’s tried it, but so appreciate her honesty, and couldn’t agree with her more.

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2. A fun article from James Hamblin on food trends and how they work.

3. An interview with Sonya Pemberton and Michael Rosenfeld, makers of the documentary “Calling the Shots,” which is to air on PBS (NOVA) on September 10th. The documentary is about vaccines and the controversy that surrounds them. I’ve written about vaccines from a vegan perspective and expressed frustration that most vaccines are developed in eggs. But I’m firmly pro-vax from a health and public health standpoint, and I found the interview interesting.

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4. A fascinating new study suggesting that early life stress (trauma, abuse, neglect) can actually decrease the size of the amygdala (associated with memory, decision making, and emotional reactions) and hippocampus (also associated with memory, as well as with spatial navigation) regions of the brain.

5. James McWilliams’ hard-hitting, smart response to “Hoofin It.” “Hoofin It” is a week long celebration in Denver, starting today, which features the celebration of eating different hooved animals. It will move from restaurant to restaurant; tonight you can get bison, tomorrow you can get sheep, and pig on Tuesday, and so on. These animals will be served in restaurants that pride themselves on so-called humane slaughter.

James’ article is not so much about the event, which expresses sentiments that are common enough these days (namely, that we can love and even fetishize farm animals while breeding and killing them needlessly, too). It’s about the fact that HSUS–the Humane Society of the United States–is one of the event sponsors. Traditionally, HSUS has approached animal activism from a welfare perspective, focusing efforts not on total emancipation of farmed animals, but rather on taking steps to reduce slaughter and improve quality of life. This can be a controversial issue within the vegan community: does promoting welfare efforts take away from the larger and more fundamental mission of eradicating animal farming? Does improvement suggest concession?

I personally don’t feel the need to choose between supporting emancipation and supporting welfare; while I’d like to see animal farming retreat into the annals of history, and while I will gladly dedicate my energy to sharing veganism with that dream in mind, I also support any measure that will reduce the suffering that animals around the world experience every single day on farms and in fisheries. It’s the animals who come first, and lessening their pain is deeply important, even if it happens in small steps. I have always championed HSUS’ efforts toward that end, such as their incredible work to ban gestation crates. But I have to admit that this news shocked me. There’s an enormous difference between working to see more farms adopt humane practices, and overtly celebrating the slaughter of animals, no matter how that slaughter was carried out. This festival is also an overt celebration of the culture of carnism and animal objectification, which seems to me deeply at odds with HSUS’ work on behalf of vegan diets.

These days, I don’t like to spend too much effort pointing fingers at forms of vegan activism that are different from those I’d choose. There’s more that unites than divides us. At the same time, I believe in starting honest dialogs with the institutions we respect and support, and to not speak about this feels apathetic in ways I wouldn’t want my relationship with HSUS to feel. I’ll be writing HSUS representative Sarah Barnett an email, and if this strikes any sort of chord with you, you can, too: [email protected]

On that note, my friends: happy Sunday. And I’ll see you tomorrow with a new recipe!

xo