Category Archives: why I’m a vegetarian

Days 222-224: MLwC, Thomas Friedman and Vegetarian Cuisine

I’m not a huge fan of Thomas Friedman (by any stretch), but I do think he’s thoughtful and articulate so I read his articles when I have the chance. Last week he had an article entitled Lead, Follow or Move Aside which struck a true note regarding global climate change.

He’s basically bemoaning our current standing in the world with regard to effective action around climate change, a standing he lays squarely at the feet of our dear leader, GWB. To illustrate the possibilities available to us as a nation, he points to WalMart, the current poster child for evolving thought with regard to sustainable energy and practices:

The “Wal-Mart environmental moment” starts with the C.E.O. adopting a green branding strategy as a purely defensive, public relations, marketing move. Then an accident happens — someone in the shipping department takes it seriously and comes up with a new way to package the latest product and saves $100,000. This gets the attention of the C.E.O., who turns to his P.R. adviser and says, “Well, isn’t that interesting? Get me a sustainability expert. Let’s do this some more.”

The company then hires a sustainability officer, and he starts showing how green design, manufacturing and materials can save money in other areas. Then the really smart C.E.O.’s realize they have to become their own C.E.O. — chief energy officer — and they start demanding that energy efficiency become core to everything the company does, from how its employees travel to how its products are manufactured.

Given the same opportunity to wake up and smell the change-in-the-air apparently sails right by the Bush administration about every 15 minutes, the latest example being Bush’s speech before the UN on global climate change last week in which he said, sorry, profits first, future last.

Bush scratching his head confused

Friedman decries the very thing that is so upsetting about Bush’s entire reign:

Too bad. “It was America which put environmentalism on the world’s agenda in the 1970s and ’80s,” recalled Glenn Prickett, a senior vice president for Conservation International. “But since then, somehow, the wealthiest and most powerful country on the planet has gone to the back of the line.”

Leadership is about “follow me” not “after you.” Getting our national climate regulations in order is necessary, but it will not be sufficient to move China. We have to show them what Wal-Mart is showing its competitors — that green is not just right for the world, it is better, more profitable, more healthy, more innovative, more efficient, more successful. If Wal-Mart can lead, and California can lead, why can’t America?

The only thing we’re leading in anymore is hostility and thuggish foreign policy and I would really, really like to see this country do better, wouldn’t you?

And now for something completely different…I was making dinner last night, a medley of runner beans, broccoli, spinach, butter potatoes and brussel sprouts, sauteed in sweet coconut oil, a splash of chili oil and sesame oil, with carmalized sweet onions and garlic and thinking: why can’t restaurants make veggie meals like this? Why do they always have to come up with some dull combination of zucchini and broccoli, heavy on the zucchini, and call it their vegetarian offering, as if we have no taste for really good vegetables and as if we all eat zucchini at home. What’s with the zucchini, anyway? I really resent paying $15 for a dinner that includes zucchini as its main vegetable.

Here’s what I’d like: I’d like restaurants to recognize that vegetarians are as knowledgeable and well traveled in their vegetable preferences as meat eaters. So if you’re going to offer something for vegetarians, make it as exotic, creative, thoughtful, and worthwhile as your carnivore dishes, okay? Otherwise, just bring me a house salad.

In the International District in Seattle, you’ll find the Tamarind Tree, a restaurant with an outstanding vegetarian flair, as well as delights to please the carnies among us. What are your veggie-creative choices for dining out–we could start a revolution by raising the veggie bar at least as high as that steak bar is set at Morton’s.

 

Daily Stats: (Mon, Tue, Wed)
Car: 29 miles
Bike: 0
Ped: approx 3.5
Bus: 0

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Day 133: MLwC, food and the 4th

Here’s what the 4th of July looks, smells and sounds like in my neck of the woods:

seattle fireworks pic

Wall-to-wall people camped out at the beach from early morning on in order to have a good spot to watch the fireworks over Elliott Bay and Queen Anne.

Traffic backed up from the bridge all the way to and from the beach all day and until the very early morning hours.

The twin smells of barbecue and wood fires, combined later with sulpher from the fireworks themselves.

Boom boxes blaring, kids running around laughing, squealing, adults talking over too much beer and sun…but all having a pretty good holiday.

And food. Chips, hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, take-out chicken, store-bought cherry pie…a cornucopia of processed american food.

Which brings me to the Slow Food, an international organization with over 80,000 members started in 1986 as a reaction to McDonald’s and other american fast food enterprises. They focus on the intersection of community, farming, food production, taste, health, and the pure enjoyment of real, unprocessed food. Their mission statement:

We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet.

Anyone who gets their food at a local farmer’s market is part of the slow food movement, whether they realize it or not. Anyone who takes the time to prepare their meals, who cares about what goes in their body, or who enjoys real, unprocessed food, or prefers restaurants that use local fresh and organic produce is part of the slow food movement. Because in our culture, it is much easier to just buy a bag of chips, pick up some hot dogs or burgers, grab a mass-produced pizza and knock back a six pack of fast-brewed beer.

We have come to expect so little from our food. In a fast food world, it’s all about quantity, not quality. In a slow food world, those values are reversed.

So, anyway, I spent the day with pals (so great to hang with your girl gang, Di!) and had lunch at the Pike Place Market. Later I rode home to spend the evening with some more friends; we had slow cooked spicy black beans, rice, guacamole, corn tortillas, salad, and a fresh fruit crisp with cherries from our own pie-cherry tree in the backyard…and man, was it good! How was your 4th?

Daily stats: (Wednesday)
Car: 0
Bike: 15 miles
Bus: 1.5 miles
Water taxi: 2 miles
Ped: approx 2 miles

Seattle’s composting program

Just a note to all Seattle area readers: are you composting your food scraps yet?  Seattle has a truly exemplary program in place to reduce landfill by as much as 50% or more…if only we could get our seattleites to put their vegetable food scraps in their yard waste bins.

Sound easy?  It is.  Couldn’t be easier–we’ve been doing it now for several months and it’s a pretty sweet deal.  We now have the smallest trash container allowed which means reducing our monthly solid waste bill, and we feel good about turning our estimated 10+ lbs. per week of veggie + fruit scraps into rolling hills of compost for our parks and gardens.

garbage-truck-01.jpg

So, just do it.  It’s simple and it works.

Day 104: WLwC, stumble upon and Mac Maintenance

So, I’ve had the Stumble-upon tool bar up for about a week now and generally lovin it–it’s a pretty slick way of pushing content that you might actually be interested in. Yesterday, though, I wasn’t so sure.

I had a moment before my next appt and decided to just check what’s out there and clicked on the video icon. What I got, based on my profile which included that I’m a vegetarian, was the vid narrated by Alex Baldwin called Meet your Meat . I made it through about 2 minutes of it. It was so disturbing… and yet important–but I’ve already gone through the loss-of-denial process around the meat industry so I didn’t want to see it again.

Bottom line: if you think you might want to become vegetarian, watch it–it’ll speed that transition along nicely. If you still want to enjoy those steak dinners or pork chops, don’t go there. I really can’t imagine it not impacting you.

Just to balance things out, I used stumble-upon (is this kind of an “I feel lucky” google feature on steroids?) to surf a little and found this excellent veg-head recipe for a dinner that I’ll be trying out very soon. Apparently I didn’t lose my appetite completely.

My pal at NorthofNormal has a spring cleaning list for Mac users out there. Check it out, I’m running some of the apps on my system later today. Thanks Bri!

Daily Stats (Thursday)

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Foot: approx 3 miles
Bus: 0