Posts filed under ‘Veganism’

Ode To Soy

Ahhh, soy. The little bean that could. Today’s sophisticated vegan is no stranger to this multi-faceted marvel. It’s versatility is simply unparalled and we consume it in some form or another on a daily basis, be it soymilk, soy cheese, tofu, mock meat or even soy ice cream. Personally, it’s been my wildcard food of choice for a long time now. (I’m an avid consumer of Silk products.)

The soya bean originally found its roots in the culture of food many a century ago, thanks to Asian diets and lifestyles but its uses have since evolved into something of a recent phenomenon, being implemented in countless modern production processes of not only the culinary kind but also medical, environmental and even automotive. Nowadays, you can find soy fueling our cars, feeding our livestock, preventing and/or reversing the effects of cancer and then some.

Its benefits are outstanding and there’s no denying that the humble soybean has taken the world by storm as of late (especially in the west) but as this well-marketed legume quickly gains its glorified status, one has to stop and ask what’s up with all the hype? Soy has been around for a good few millennia now, so why are the westerners (or, rather, Americans) just recently beginning to sink their teeth into it? Fortunately, you don’t have to dig too deep to find out.

The truth is, there’s been a dark cloud of conspiracy surrounding the recent soy craze for some time now. Despite the firm, popular belief in soy’s unending advantages, naysayers bash the bean as being dangerous and detrimental to our health, as it inhibits the body’s intake of nutrients and minerals, increases the production of phytoestrogens, fucks up our thyroid and stunts our growth. Researchers attribute the diminished stature of the Chinese to the, albeit minimal, consumption of soy in their daily diets. Many, if not most, of these numerous findings conflict with the cool bean’s empowering promise of greater well-being, so who exactly is touting these miracle claims anyway?

Enter, our old friend, the FDA.

Associates of this shady organisation have invested millions in crafting a nationwide marketing campaign for the infamous soybean. Groups such as the United Soybean Board, who are responsible for the Soybean Checkoff, a program that they describe as such:

Like producers of other commodities, such as beef, dairy and eggs, soybean farmers collectively invest a portion of their end-of-season profits to fund research and promotion efforts. This collective investment is called a checkoff. The soybean checkoff is supported entirely by soybean farmers with individual contributions of 0.5 percent of the market price per bushel sold each season. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board, composed of 68 volunteer farmer-leaders nominated by their state-level checkoff organizations, called Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs). The nominees are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to the Board.

The soy industry hired Norman Robert Associates, a public relations firm, to “get more soy products onto school menus”. The USDA responded with a proposal to scrap the 30 per cent limit for soy in school lunches. The NuMenu program would allow unlimited use of soy in student meals. With soy added to hamburgers, tacos and lasagna, dieticians can get the total fat content below 30 per cent of calories, thereby conforming to government dictates. “With the soy-enhanced food items, students are receiving better servings of nutrients and less cholesterol and fat.”[1]

Under the old component system, soy protein could be used in foods, but it couldn’t replace more than 30 percent of the meat in products. For instance, a burger patty could not contain more than 30 percent soy protein; the remaining 70 percent of the patty had to be meat. The soy was also fortified with iron, a requirement that came about as a result of USDA research which indicated that soy inhibits the body’s ability to absorb iron.[2]

Indeed, something’s up and more research is starting to break ground. Whether or not the intentions of the FDA, USDA and the newfound soy industry are genuine (and how often are they?), the fact is there’s all sorts of dirt on the topic. There are two sides to every bean and, until these findings prove otherwise, I’m turning over a new leaf and switching to hemp. Surely a seed responsible for the ostracising of an entire cultural movement and a relentless war on drug abuse can’t be nearly as harmful.

For more information on soy, visit Soy Research Today.


1Soy Alert — Tragedy and Hype: The Third International Soy Symposium, by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig, PhD, 2000
2USDA School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children, Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D.

Wednesday, 28 May, 2008 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

Trekking Through Tempe

16th April, 2007

This is one of our last videos from Phoenix, taken nearly a year ago now. Wow, I miss those blonde curls so much, Caribbean weather just ain’t havin’ it. Anyway, so D and I were casually strolling down the sidewalk just outside our apartment on the way to  dinner at a newly opened vegan restaurant, Green. We made it there… after spending about four hours trying to find the place and bus-hopping all over downtown Scottsdale. D’s shoes decided to fall apart on the way and me, being the enormous sweetheart that I am, had the bright idea of swapping her stompers with mine.

This whole scene was fairly early into my transition too so my voice is a little untamed. Well, enjoy it all the same.

Friday, 21 March, 2008 at 3:06 am 1 comment

The Weekend Starts Here

So there’s not much in the way of news per se but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been up to anything. I’ve even had to blow off a few friends just because I’m so incredibly busy with everything else.

We just recently purchased a hefty serving of baby clothing, toys and accessories from Speesees and I can’t wait for them to get here. Cost about a third of my paycheque but it’s definitely worth it. We’ve also put together a baby registry at a local childrens store and we’re even working on putting together a small baby shower to celebrate Phoenix’ arrival, complete with Veganese cooking, recycled fanfare and environmentalism video entertainment. Oh yeah, we’re taking full advantage of this affair.

This parental stuff is all well and good but I’m seriously missing out on going out and having some real fun, clubber’s style. We tried a month or so ago but it’s just way too late in the game to socialise like we used to. No drinks, no drugs, no wild sex parties… not yet. Yeah, needless to say, we have other priorities. (I’m starting to realise how much I’m beginning to sound like a mother.) We’re devising some sort of plan to give us a little flexibility though. Breastpumps, babysitters and hopefully, the start of another (successful) polyamourous relationship with a certain special someone. We’ll be all over Phoenix when he first gets here, sure but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little wild every once in a while.

I’ve been struggling to upload some videos of D and I from Phoenix for forever now but damn, my connection is crappier than I thought. Google isn’t cooperating very well so hopefully I can find some other viable option. I desperately need to take some new pictures anyway. My blonde hair is just about completely gone now anyway (and I so miss it).

Tomorrow begins our much needed long weekend though, kicking off with Good Friday. It’s really a shame we can’t comfortably cooperate in celebrating with other Christians but it’s not like we’re that devout either. There’s just too much conspiracy surrounding the good book for me to take anything ti says with much more than a grain of salt these days. We’ll probably just take some time to laze around, cuddle up and watch a few good flicks. Maybe hit the beach or play tourist for a while. Happy Easter, kittens!

Thursday, 20 March, 2008 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Compassionate Action For Animals

Outreach And Education
Presented by Compassionate Action For Animals

Wednesday, 19 March, 2008 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

Skinny Bitch

Skinny Bitch

Skinny Bitch
Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers (December 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762424931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762424931

This is the big gun. If ever there was a certain something to really make you stop and think about what you’re eating to the point that you vowed to become a vegan and never look back, this is it. If this blunt and sans bullshit approach to the modern food industry doesn’t open your eyes, then all hope is lost.

Though this hip and fierce little piece of literature has been starting wildfires around the country (U.S.A.) since 2005, it doesn’t look like the flames will be letting up anytime soon. Authors Rory and Kim (former model and model agent) make many a striking statement about what you eat, how you eat it and who puts in on your plate in the first place. They tackle ugly social habits including drinking, smoking and morning coffee binges without mercy and shed some much needed light on conspiracies underlying the FDA, EPA and other governmental and corporate giants. Discover just how mainstream media and the money-hungry execs who operate it convinced millions that milk is beneficial to your body, that Splenda is a safe and natural alternative to sugar and how carbohydrates have been branded with the mark of Satan. And, above all else, discover what it really takes to be a skinny bitch.

D and I finally picked this up this little marvel yesterday after spotting it for the first time at the Harrisburg International Airport and we’re just shy of reading it from front to back. Despite the fact that we’re devout vegans and environmentalists, there always seems to be some grotesque factoid floating about that we have yet to be introduced to and Skinny Bitch has us swimming knee-deep in them. Expect to see a little excerpt from the book on my blog sometime soon.

Thursday, 13 March, 2008 at 6:07 pm Leave a comment

It’s About Time

Super Mario Galaxy

There is so much I’ve been itching to post! And so much that I just plain forgot to. Lunch with Harmony, heading out to Calico Jack’s with Nikko, the latest album from Adele, more eco-friendly baby products, parenting classes, Fierce Angel downloads, my recent sleepsexing habits and Super Mario Galaxy! But, to tell you the truth, I’ve just been too caught up with other things these past few weeks or so (and collecting power stars on top of it all–whoo, boy!).

We’ve found so many baby things to shop for and they’re all looking great. The latest and one of the most exciting discovery’s is this Eco Cradle from Green Lullaby I spotted on Treehugger.com. Our list just keeps getting bigger and bigger but I think, little by little, we’re narrowing it down to the bare essentials. Sure, we’d love to go overboard but we’re not exactly the luxe consumer types. Baby steps, after all. And there is that small matter of our current account balance that might be worth taking note of. I think we’ve fallen in love with The Body Shop. So much so that we’ve purchased well over $100 in goods within the past two weeks alone. You might see us strolling down the sidewalks with our organic tote bags (in lieu of the traditional plastic alternative, of course), sporting all-natural mineral makeup , fragrances and lotions and even bathing with hemp soap. I’m starting to scare even myself but there’s no denying that I’m loving it. Now it’s Phoenix’ turn to go green!

In other news, I recently bumped into an old friend of mine whilst perusing for vegan goods with D last week. Exchanged hugs, hellos and numbers, including one from another old friend/co-worker/mentor from years bygone. Last I heard from her was around 2005 and I did miss her so. I called her up that same day and she immediately picked up on the effects of my transitioning, without me fessing up a single word. Soonafter we got into the discussion that typically follows, she informed me of another transgender on island who she so happens to be acquainted with and even suggested we do lunch sometime. Excitement! Looks like there’s life on Mars after all.

More later…

Thursday, 6 March, 2008 at 7:41 am 1 comment

How To Green Your Baby

by Kathreen Ricketson, Canberra, Australia

htggreen_baby_banner.jpg

What’s the Big Deal?

A new baby entering your life can create an enormous number of unexpected changes. Along with the little one comes a whole new category of things to purchase—not only the obvious large items like furniture and diapers, but also all the unforeseen extras that seem to accumulate. While having a baby is consumer heaven, the key is to not be gulled into an unnecessary buying frenzy. In truth, a baby has very minimal needs. On the flip side, there is more to a sustainable life with your baby than cloth diapers, organic baby food, and fair-trade clothing…read on for more.

Top 10 Tips

1. Diapers (aka Nappies)

Studies are divided on the subject of environmental impact of disposables vs. cloth. But knowing that your baby will use approx 6,000 diapers before toilet training, and that disposable diapers take 200-500 years to decompose, this is certainly a key issue to ponder. Washing cloth diapers takes water, energy, and chemicals (not to mention time), but you might want to consider the benefits of a laundering service. One study has found that home-washing cloth diapers has only 53% of the ecological footprint of disposables, and if you use a diaper laundering service that impact is halved again.

Cloth: Reusable diapers aren’t what they used to be and the days of diaper pins are all but bygone. Go for fitted cloth diapers with Velcro or snap closures for convenience, made from an eco-friendly material such as hemp, bamboo, or organic cotton. Use an organic wool cover that is both warm and breathable, minimizing diaper rash and cold bottoms at night. Use either removable or flushable liners and when washing either use a laundering service or wash at home at lower temperatures. With a new baby around you’ll probably notice a lot more laundry piling up, so make sure you’ve optimized your setup with an efficient machine and non-toxic detergent. If you can line-dry, that is ideal, but don’t bother ironing.

Biodegradable diapers: Made with plant-based plastics (also known as bioplastics), these diapers non-petroleum based and are compostable. While these have been found not to break down under landfill conditions, there are other options to compost them such as using a composting toilet, an earthworm system, or a highly active and properly conditioned composting area. Hybrid diapers, like gDiapers, have removable inserts that can safely biodegrade when flushed.

2. Breast or bottle

This one’s a no-brainer: breastfeeding is best. It’s free, has health benefits for mother and baby, has no environmental impact, and is a precious bonding experience. However, in our commerce-driven society there are products for everything, and breastfeeding is no exception. For breast pads, ditch disposables and try re-usable organic cotton or wool felt pads. While there are many great, organic nipple creams available, some locally produced olive oil or organic lanolin does a great job.

If bottle feeding becomes a necessity, pumping your own is the first choice. Beyond that, using a fair-trade organic infant formula is preferable. If this is neither affordable nor accessible, then the next best thing is to ensure the brand of formula you buy is from a company not profiteering from marketing their product to developing countries. These companies disregard or try to get around the marketing code set by The World Health Assembly.

3. Solid foods

At about six months, babies starts to eat real food. Rice cereal and mushy veggies turn to combinations of fish, meat, eggs, legumes, and vegetables—yep, a regular person’s diet. Buying jars of food is sure convenient, but as an adult you don’t live out of jars, so why should your baby? For those occasional situations, purchase organic or fresh frozen baby foods. Otherwise, make your own. Cook up veggies, casseroles, or tofu and lentils, whatever is your thing, and freeze it in tiny containers or ice cube trays ready to take out and defrost when needed. (Be sure you discuss any concerns over dietary requirements with your health professional)

4. Clothing

All those designer baby clothes are cute and oh so hard to resist in their fruity colors. But be careful. Not only does a baby grow out of clothes amazingly fast, they are constantly sending bodily fluids flying onto those precious outfits. The baby couture might be better replaced with convenient one-piece suits in practical white terry cloth. Choosing organic hemp or cotton, bamboo or wool fabrics made without toxic chemicals are best against a baby’s sensitive skin and last longer with the constant washing. Second-hand clothing is the cheapest and most sustainable option. Get hand-me-downs from friends and family or look in thrift shops, Craigslist, or Freecycle.

5. Body care and bath time

It’s very easy to get sucked into the constant advertising of baby powders, creams, and lotions. But the best baby lotion is plain old olive oil—cheap, natural, and un-perfumed. As for other products, keep it as natural, organic, and fragrance-free as possible. For more on this, take a look at How to Green Women’s Personal Care.

6. Laundry and washing

It’s quite possible that our war on germs is actually making things worse. Studies have shown that children brought up in over-cleaned houses are more likely to develop allergies, asthma, or eczema. The best thing you can do for sensitive baby skin is not to cover it with synthetic chemicals. Wash nappies with pure soap and warm water. Make your own non-toxic cleansers with simple ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. For more, see How to Green Your Cleaning.

7. Toys

Get back to basics and try old fashioned wooden toys and organic cotton or homemade teddies. Because babies put most things in their mouths, go as natural as possible, then when baby is a little older, get hold of second-hand toys. Also aim for toys that helps build a child’s bond with nature and the natural world. The sad truth is that the average American kindergartener can identify several hundred logos only a few leaves from plants and trees.

8. Furniture and accessories

Babies don’t need much—a secure place to sleep, a car seat, a high chair, and a way to be trundled around. Go for second-hand furniture, everything except cot mattresses (some research suggests a link between second-hand cot mattresses and sudden infant death syndrome) and car seats, (which can have invisible accident damage). If you buy new furniture, purchase high quality, durable pieces made of sustainable, low-toxicity materials. Think about some alternatives to the regular old wooden baby bed; try using an organic cotton baby hammock or a cot that extends into a bed and lasts 6-7 years. The most ethical option for stroller (pram) is recycled. For more on furniture, see our guide.

9. Household environment

It goes without saying that alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking while pregnant are bad for a baby. But it is also very important to avoid exposure to the synthetic chemicals contained in everyday products such as paints, carpet, furniture, bedding, and pesticides. When decorating the nursery, use natural and low-VOC paints and don’t lay new carpet before the baby is born. Suspicious new items should at least be left outside to off-gas for a few days before bringing inside.

10. Wipes and liners

Diaper wipes and liners commonly include propylene glycol (a binder also found in antifreeze), parabens (a family of compounds commonly used as preservatives) and perfume, which can be made from up to 600 different chemicals. Try using good natural organic cotton wool and water and avoid disposable changing mats and perfumed diaper bags.

gdiaper.jpg
(The Cradle to Cradle certified gDiaper)

Hard Core

1. To have babies at all?

With the world population estimated to pass the nine billion mark by mid-century, the sheer number of people on the planet is one of our biggest risks. While the biggest population booms are happening in the less wealthy developing countries, North Americans and Western Europeans have a per-person environmental footprint that is far above world average. It’s a big decision and a touchy subject, but the number of children you have, if any at all, is an enormous factor in your impact on the Earth. Adopting kids is also a profound contribution to a sustainable world.

2. Try attachment parenting

Sleeping with and wearing your baby, while not for everyone, is said to promote a strong bond leading to a sensitive, emotionally aware child.

3. Avoid using diapers altogether

Elimination communication is a technique of timing, signals, cues, and intuition to help baby/infant express his or her poo-related needs. This is best begun before six months of age, and while it is most commonly used in third-world countries where parents are in constant contact with their children, it has been used in the West with some success.

4. Shower with your baby

Save water and enjoy precious bonding time by holding your baby while in the shower.

5. Get crafty

Make your own diapers, breast pads, toys, and baby clothes. There are plenty of Web sites offering free patterns and advice on DIY baby goods (see below for more). Also, don’t forget about your local craft shop or group for advice and materials.

6. Avoid unnecessary gadgets

Monitors, motorized rockers, musical mobiles and the like are tempting, and can be useful or educational, but keeping the baby-related consumerism in check is a wise move. Ask yourself if you really need them? If so, try for secondhand items first.

7. Swapping

So many baby things only get used for a few months, it seems mad to buy them new, (e.g. strollers, beds, playpens, highchairs, etc). Buy secondhand, beg, borrow , or swap with friends and family to find what you need. Also remember community fairs, garage sales, and online swap sites.

By the Numbers

1. The average baby uses approx 6,000 diapers before potty training.

2. Petroleum-based disposable diapers take between 200 and 500 years to decompose.

3. Disposables used per day: Australia uses 2.2 million, Japan 6.7 million, the UK 9 million, and the USA 49 million.

4. A home-washed cloth diaper has only 53% of the ecological footprint of disposables, and a nappy laundry service has a mere 37% of that footprint.

5. Americans spend an estimated $1.4 billion on complicated births due to smoking while pregnant.

6. Disposable diapers contain chemicals that were banned in the 1980s in women’s tampons, but continue to be used today to improve absorbency in children’s diapers.

tripp-trapp.jpg(The Tripp Trapp chair from Stokke is a great example of adaptable furniture)

From the Archives

Diapers are one of the biggest issues when thinking about having an eco-friendly baby. Check out our explorations on diaper alternatives like The Nature Nappy, The Cradle to Cradle-certified gDiaper, Wam Bamboo Nappies, and Eenee eco-diapers.

Here, readers offer comments on finding a stroller without the toxins.

Lovely eco friendly furniture options include Stokke Tripp Trapp chair, and the eco crib from Mothercare.

For baby food, check out Liz Hurley’s line of organic natural foods and organic baby food from Ulula.

Find more on eco friendly baby creams, lotions, and powders from sources like Sage Baby, Avalon Organics, Erbaviva, and Munchskins.

And if you were intrigued about the no-diaper solution, read our story on potty whispering and this earlier story on diaper-free babies.

For clothes and cloths, go organic and get back to basics. Check out hemp towels from Transylvania and organic baby gear from Nui Organics.

If you want to buy just one perfect soft organic teddy, check out our top five organic soft toys.

Baby furniture from Nurseryworks is handmade and highly morphable.

E Magazine takes a hard look at raising a healthy child in a toxic world.

further reading

Vegetarian Baby is a site for parents of vegetarian and vegan children under three, with topics on pregnancy, nutrition, and products.

The Guardian has a charming article entitled “How to stop your baby wreaking eco havoc.”

Organic Baby is a New Zealand site offering guides on safe, natural parenting.

Kids Health provides doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence.

Baby Center is an Australian site with information on shopping for your eco baby.

Information on formula marketing around the world can be found from the International Baby Food Action Network.

Baby Milk Action and The Australian Breastfeeding Association have more in depth information on feeding your baby.

The Real Diaper Association has hard facts on the impacts of disposable diapers and the benefits of cloth.

Colorado department of public health and the environment has facts about smoking while pregnant.

321434800_fd28cc1944_o.jpg
(A baby next to his daily diaper pile. Image credit: Sean Dreilinger)

Where to Get it!

Food

Do It Yourself

baby-toys.jpg


Cited from: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/05/how-to-green-your-baby.php

Thursday, 6 March, 2008 at 4:34 am 1 comment

Older Posts


Misadventures Of A Vagrant T-Girl

There's plenty fun to be had. From the Cayman Islands, to London, to Phoenix and back again, Silky's been there, done that. But life's for the living and I ain't dead yet. Making vegans look cool, trannies sound sexy and delivering shit hot Electro is my deal. Loving my beautiful wife, nurturing my baby boy Phoenix and making my small mark on this jaded world of post-consumerism is my mantra. Friends, welcome. Guests, indulge. There's plenty fun to be had.

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Birthdate: 19th February, 1983 Nationality: Caymanian Star Sign: Aquarius/Pisces Orientation: Bisexual Diet: Vegan Occupation: Graphic Designer WiiMail: w8848634343789919@wii.com
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