Humans Have NO Need To Eat Animal Products
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Humans Have NO Need To Eat Animal Products

Veganic-Farming

Plant-based vegan diets are healthy and sustainable. This is now irrefutable since every major health institute around the world endorses this way of living. Remember, knowledge is power. Here is a useful list of links below.

A vegan diet contains only plants (such as grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits). Vegans do not eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs.

Healthy eating as a vegan

You can get all of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet. The NHS need to update their information in terms of their infancy recommendations. A vegan diet is completely healthy from birth to old age. They also recommend lots of oils for omega 3 sources. Nuts, seeds etc., are a far healthier choice. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/

The Permanente Journal:"Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods. We present a case study as an example of the potential health benefits of such a diet. Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity."
http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672(16)31192-3/abstract
 
Dietitians Association of Australia:“Vegan diets are a type of vegetarian diet, where only plant-based foods are eaten. They differ to other vegetarian diets in that no animal products are consumed or used. Despite these restrictions, with good planning it is still possible to obtain all the nutrients required for good health on a vegan diet.”
http://daa.asn.au/.../smart.../nutrition-a-z/vegan-diets/
 
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864
 
British Dietetic Association:“Well-planned vegetarian diets can be both nutritious and healthy. They have been associated with lower risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain types of cancer and lower blood cholesterol levels.”
www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/vegetarianfoodfacts.pdf
 
Dietitians of Canada:“A healthy vegan diet has many health benefits including lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.”
https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vegetarian-and-Vegan-Diets/What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Following-a-Vegan-Eati.aspx?fbclid=IwAR3lqzG5gjgIVMS6A21Y9z1fnS3NSdvkXOiquyZT36y6u9kexkOXTroxaRQ

Harvard School of Public Health:“Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses.”
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian
Cleveland Clinic:“There really are no disadvantages to an herbivorous diet! A plant-based diet has many health benefits, including lowering the risk for heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. It can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, plus maintain weight and bone health.”
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/understanding-vegetarianism-heart-health...
 
New York Presbyterian Hospital: “People who follow a vegetarian diet are relatively healthier than those who don't. Vegetarians tend to have a lower incidence of obesity and fewer chronic health problems, including some cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”
http://nyp.org/wellness/showDocument.php?contentTypeId=1…
 
The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (UCLA):“Some of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet may include: [decreased blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure; [l]ower incidence of heart disease, some forms of cancer, and digestive disorders like constipation and diverticula disease; [l]ower incidence of obesity and some forms of diabetes.”
http://www.dining.ucla.edu/housing_site/dining/SNAC_pdf/Vegetarianism.pdf
 
The Mayo Clinic:“A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them.”
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vegetarian-diet/HQ01596
 
Nutrition Facts:"These are the top 15 causes of death, and a plant based diet can prevent nearly all of them, can help treat more than half of them, and in some cases, even reverse the progression of disease, including our top three killers."
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/
 
Walter Willet, the Chair of Harvard nutrition department, writes: 
 “Humans have no nutritional requirement for animal milk, an evolutionarily recent addition to the diet,” Willett and his co-author, David Ludwig, of Boston Children’s Hospital, wrote in an article published last September in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics.''
''… the recommendation for three servings of milk per day is not justified and is likely to cause harm to some people. The primary justification is bone health and reduction of fractures. However, prospective studies and randomized trials have consistently shown no relation between milk intake and risk of fractures. On the other hand, many studies have shown a relation between high milk intake and risk of fatal or metastatic prostate cancer, and this can be explained by the fact that milk intake increases blood levels of IGF-1, a growth-promoting hormone.'' 
http://life.nationalpost.com/.../drinking-milk-not.../

NHS - UK - A vegan diet contains only plants (such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits) and foods made from plants. Vegans do not eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs. Healthy eating as a vegan - You can get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/

Nutrition Facts: "These are the top 15 causes of death, and a plant based diet can prevent nearly all of them, can help treat more than half of them, and in some cases, even reverse the progression of disease, including our top three killers."

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/

In good health

Society

Society-D

At COP28 the conversation is still about money and not feeding the world.

Another year, another COP meeting and the environment is back in the news.  COP stands for Convention of Parties and they do party. This gathering of 84,000 people got together in the desert paradise of Dubai for one of the years greatest shows. They flew in from all around the world in private jets to create the grand illusion that there was action being taken for solving the destruction of planet earth. 

Industry lobbyists and NGOs all vie for the attention of the politicians and government representatives that approve or block any proposals that might pass muster. As usual, there were a few headline grabbing actions. Millions of dollars were pledged to the Pacific Island nations that totalled to about 2% of what was needed. Oil companies pledged to make their product cleaner (details to come later, much later) and new technologies were explored. Who doesn’t get excited about new technology? What wasn’t talked about was food.

The government/agricultural complex is not going to budge. The rivers and oceans are being poisoned with the agricultural runoff of fertilizers, leaving a lifeless soil. The forests of the world are being cut down to grow food for animals and billions of animals are being kept in barbaric conditions to be killed for our pleasure. The atmosphere is being filled with the methane gas and other greenhouse chemicals that arise from this wasteful and tragic use of resources.  All this is done in the name of profit, there is no other rationale. Let them eat cake is the only comment that comes from COP28.

While the delegates could choose “juicy beef”, “slabs of succulent meat” or “melt in your mouth barbeque” the biggest step forward toward climate recovery and repair was not on the menu. Everyone is afraid to call out the stupidity, the greed and violence inherent in the killing of animals for eating. 

There were three times as many lobbyists from agricultural interests than ever before. The dairy industry alone had 120 delegates. Food manufacturers and pesticide companies were given free rein to rub shoulders with the diplomats and decision makers to remind them of their monetary power. 

Ben Lilliston, of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, said: “With greater scrutiny over emissions from meat and dairy companies, it is not surprising they are stepping up their game to head off any Cop outcome that might hinder their operations. Even so, a tripling of delegates is alarming – it drives home the urgent need for reforms that limit corporate influence at UN climate meetings.”

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of ecological destruction because it uses 37% of the ice-free land area of the planet just to graze animals [1], while bottom trawling an area of the ocean floor the size of South America every year for industrial fishing [2].

It is estimated that one-third of global greenhouse gas is a result of the meat and dairy industry. They are also the cause of the most environmental damage in terms of deforestation, biodiversity loss, pandemic risk, and water pollution. 

Dairy production alone emits more greenhouse gasses than the global aviation industry. Governments are too weak and financially invested in this tragic waste of life and resource to act, it is only the actions of individuals that can turn the tide. The only solution is to stop eating animals and support a new approach to feeding the world that is healthy for society and the environment.

WHAT WE CAN DO

There is no single issue that illustrates how our cultural enchantments pull us away from a healthy relationship with the planet than our attitudes regarding what we eat. Here are things that we can do right away to help turn the tide and be on the right side of history:

  • Stop consuming all animal products. Mammal meat, chicken, pork, dairy, eggs, fish, and all animal foods raised, free-range or wild caught are harmful to the ecology of the planet and human health.
  • Support Organic & Veganic Growers. Start to support those farmers who are taking care of the land. Eat organically and veganically raised foods as much as possible. Plant based foods have a much smaller carbon footprint and require less water and land to produce.
  • Download our free eBook, The Human Ecology Diet: https://humanecologyproject.com/what-to-eat/ and learn the way to create a healthy and diverse diet for you and your family. 
  • Be a happy advocate for a vegan world. No need to attack, prove it can be done by your daily actions. Share information with those who are open for a conversation, be informed.
  • Don’t wait, do it now.

[1]  https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/08/Fullreport-1.pdf

[2]  https://marine-conservation.org/archive/mcbi/Watling_&_Norse_1998.pdf

Animals

Animals-D

We need to reassess our relationship to the whole animal kingdom and a good place to start is with those non-humans we claim to love the most.

The human love affair with dogs goes back possibly 20,000 to 30,000 years. The relationship has moved through a working relationship to one of being adopted as a totally dependent child. There are estimates that there are as many as 900 million dogs in the world (both strays and pets).  Most people love their domestic pets and even consider them part of the family. There is however one big difference, they are all property. We own our pets.

Our trustee, Professor Gary L. Francione speaks very compellingly on this issue of ownership. Since we own our pets, we can do as we please with them. Depending on our emotional attachment they are expendable. We govern their lives and their deaths. During the recent covid lockdowns many animals were adopted and then put aside or put down when the novelty had worn off.

Increasingly we are responsible for their births. We do not simply want a little dog companion we want a particular breed, one that looks a particular way. We want canine arm candy. This has serious implications for the health of the dogs.

Ninety-nine percent of all vets believe there is an increase in complications with pregnancy with crossbreeding. This is driven because of the popularity of breeds such as Labradoodles. The females used in the dog breeding businesses are kept pregnant as much of the time as possible (like many farm animals).  These overbred mothers suffer from complications that produce physical pain and emotional stress when their pups are taken away too soon. This shortens their lives. All for what?  A photo opportunity?

The incidence of life-threatening health disorders is common in 42% of “purebred dogs”. [1]   Purebred dogs were more likely to have 10 genetic disorders, including dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. [2] We need to reassess our relationship to the whole animal kingdom and a good place to start is with those non-humans we claim to love the most.

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • Thousands of wonderful dog and cats wait daily for someone to give them a home. Some have faced abuse, all are grateful for a warm home, companionship (that’s right they need contact) and a friendly pack to be part of. If they do not find a home they are killed, about 1.5 million meet this fate each year in America.
  • 82 per cent, of veterinarians in the UK believe the spaying and neutering of cats and dogs should be compulsory. We are allowing an overpopulation of these domestic animals. We are responsible for bringing these dogs into their relationship with humanity. This overpopulation feeds into the increasing number of strays. There are over 200 million stray dogs in the world, 70 million live in America. [3]
  • Think before you adopt. Dogs require attention and exercise. Many people return pets or simply abandon them when they realize that there may be some work involved. If you are not willing to take your four-legged friend out for walks runs or play time you are not ready to have a dog. Also think about space. We often see large dogs that are living in small apartments and only get out maybe once a day, there are many forms of cruelty.
  • After the covid lockdowns one reason why some were returned was because people could not afford to feed them. Work this out in advance. 
  • If you are a vegan or vegetarian there are healthy options for dog food that meet all the nutritional requirements. Keep your friend healthy and safe if you really care.

[1] https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/puppy/pedigreedogs/health

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23683021/

[3] https://www.restedpaws.co.uk/uk-usa-and-wider-pet-sheltering-and-homelessness-statistics/

Environment

Environment-D

Moving beyond the usual smoke and mirrors of corporate ethics toward cleaner water.

We featured water in our last newsletter and here we are again, it is an on-going issue. Recent news in the UK have shown, how governments fail to act till too late. All over Europe and America the rivers, lakes and coastal waters are being poisoned by industrial pollution, agricultural runoff, contaminated wastewater, and human and animal faeces. These problems have been highlighted by the increase in rainfall. 

Modern sewers installed since the 1960s contain two pipes to keep separate the sewage collected from homes and businesses and the rainwater falling in built-up areas. However, because most of the sewer systems are combined, the separated rainwater pipe is at times still connected to the combined sewerage system. There are around 100,000km of combined sewers in England.

Usually, the network of sewers takes the wastewater to a sewage treatment works where it is treated and returned to rivers and streams and eventually to the sea. In certain situations, the water companies are allowed to release untreated sewerage in the inland waters directly. This water is called overflow discharge. It is here that we enter into the usual smoke and mirrors of corporate ethics.

Since the companies are virtual monopolies and competition is limited. The prices companies can charge their customers are controlled and regulated by Ofwat. This is the regulatory agency that reviews price limits. These regulations are set every five years, and as a result, new water company investment is planned in five-year cycles. The next price review period is not until 2025–2030.

These private companies have paid out a total of £965 million in shareholders dividends and the CEO’s have taken home £16 million in pay over the 2021/22 financial year. These pay-outs have been made while the outdated infrastructure continues to deteriorate. 

While some rake in the cash, the UK is ranked last in Europe for bathing water quality. Raw sewage was discharged in waterways 399,864 time in 2022.  There are now 75 rivers that pose a serious risk to human health. 

This chemical cocktail of pollutants not only harms aquatic plant and animal life, but it also ends up in the sea where it contributes to algae blooms that starve the water of oxygen. The damage to human health is serious as well, putting water users at risk. Harmful illnesses including viruses and antimicrobial resistant bacteria are common features of this toxic water. 

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • Use a water filter. There are many on the market, review one that is right for you. Even the simple countertop versions are better than nothing.
  • Check on your local water system and see how it rates. If there are problems write and let them know you are not impressed.
  • Check local rivers and coastline for contamination. There are published reports on pollution. If the waters are not safe don’t let your children swim in them.
  • Support local organizations that lobby for clean water.

Health

Health

The body is built to pull out what it needs from the available foods. Don’t overthink, simply get a diverse diet. The body (not the mind) chooses what to accept and what to reject.

Dietary diversity is essential. The range of nutrients needed for superior health and disease prevention come from a variety of sources. Both vitamins and minerals are well acknowledged as nutritional essentials. 

The macronutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the foundation of a healthy diet. These foods make up the greatest volume of foods we eat but they are useless without the vitamins and minerals contained within them. These are the micronutrients.  

Vitamins are organic compounds that are produced mostly by plants and bacteria. The vitamins your body cannot manufacture in sufficient amounts are called “essential micronutrients”. Except for vitamin D and B12 they all must be derived from the foods we eat. We do not manufacture them.[1]  

Minerals are absorbed by plants from soil or water. They are inorganic elements and must be taken in either by eating plants or in some cases, animals that have eaten plants. The requirement for specific minerals varies widely.  Those minerals that have lower requirements (but still essential) are called trace minerals. 

All the micronutrients are only required in small amounts, but if we do not have the full range it puts the body in danger of disease. The reality of this has created a general concern for the issue of “insufficiency” or “deficiencies” regarding these tiny potent substances. 

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are seen as the cause of Scurvy, Rickets, Beriberi, and Anaemia as well as a long list of other diseases. These diseases are normally associated with poverty and malnutrition. In other words, they are simply caused by a lack of food. They are rare in affluent countries since the diet may be unhealthy, but it is diverse. This has not stopped the promotion of supplements touting preventative benefits or food manufacturers “fortifying” with “essential” vitamins or minerals. 

While the common deficiency diseases are rare in Western society, a diet without adequate micronutrients can still cause problems. A lack of minimal vitamins or minerals can be a contributing factor to a variety of major illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.   

Micronutrients play an essential role in immune functions[2], the management of Alzheimer’s disease[3], and metabolism[4].  These vitamins and minerals also act as antioxidants. They help reduce the activity of free radicals which cause premature ageing and exacerbate inflammation. Free radicals are linked to the cell damage that is associated with cancer development [5]. The most important source of antioxidants are fruits, vegetables, and grains.

When it is discovered that there is any nutrient that has great value business moves in with the message that you might not have enough. Vitamin deficiency was a primary scare tactic in the 1950’s to promote foods that have been “fortified” or “enriched” with extra nutrients.  Bread, milk, fruit juice, and breakfast cereals all need extra help to be healthy. This sales strategy is still in force.

The idea that there may be serious deficiencies in our diet is a powerful message. This is particularly true when choosing food for children. What parent would not want their child to drink orange juice if it meant they would avoid scurvy? If added iron in the bread, or 5 added vitamins and 2 added minerals in their breakfast cereal is good for them, so be it. These common nutritional narratives live on in the consumer consciousness long after they have been shown to be empty promises. 

According to the experts at Johns Hopkins University, half of all American adults take multivitamins or other vitamin supplements on a regular basis. The cost is $12 billion a year.  In a study of 450,000 people, they found that the vitamins did not reduce the incidence of heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, or early death.[6] This same conclusion has been reached by multiple researchers. They all say It would be better spent on whole foods.

"I'm puzzled why the public in general ignores the results of well-done trials," said Eric Klein, national study coordinator for the prostate cancer trial and chairman of the Cleveland Clinic's Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute. "The public's belief in the benefits of vitamins and nutrients is not supported by the available scientific data."[7]

The reality of vitamin and mineral requirements is that they have been driven by the food industry and not science. Because of this they do not reflect several simple facts that are well known by serious nutritional researchers.

What We Can Do

  • Cooking is really important when eating grains, beans and many vegetables. Make sure you have enough vegetables in your diet. The food we digest needs to make it through the gut biome before it can make any impact on our energy and maintenance needs. 
  • The body is built to pull out what it needs from the available foods. Don’t overthink, simply get a diverse diet. The body (not the mind) chooses what to accept and what to reject. In the words of Professor T. Colin Campbell, “The body reigns supreme in choosing which nutrients it uses and which it discards unmetabolized.[8]
  • All micronutrients work in concert with others, usually in pairs. The proper balance of these complimentary pairings cannot be worked out in the lab. it is the microorganisms in the gut biome that “decide” which nutrients to allow in and which to reject.[9] This distinction is made according to what an individual needs, not what they think they want. This is why a simple, unprocessed, un-fortified, diet is the healthiest. 
  • Download our free eBook, The Human Ecology Diet for ideas on creating a diverse healthy diet. https://humanecologyproject.com/what-to-eat/

[1] [1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/micronutrients-have-major-impact-on-health#:~:text=Five%20micronutrients—

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17726308/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3656646/

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16376462/

[5] https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet

[6] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/is-there-really-any-benefit-to-multivitamins

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/health/17iht-vitamin.1.20240783.html

[8] Whole, rethinking the science of nutrition, T. Colin Campbell, PhD with Howard Jacobson PhD, BenBella Books

[9] https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2179

What About Water? Workbook

Thumbnail-water

Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

This is a Human Ecology Project Workbook What About Water?

We hope you can find a group of friends and watch the video together to discuss the issues presented in it. We have supplied some questions to get the ball rolling if you need them, and supplied a full text of the video with references to some studies and articles if you want to carry your studies deeper. 

Given the importance of water to our life and the health of the planet we need to be mindful of how we can help in the conservation and sustainability of this precious resource.  Even though humans around the world need clean water to survive only 1 in 9 people around the globe get it.  

Remember: The Personal Is Planetary

Watch the Video 

What About Water?

In good health

Vegetable & Tempeh Wellington with Rich Shiitake Gravy

Wellington

 This recipe may take a bit of preparation but it’s well worth it. Rather than making your own pastry, a short cut option that I offer here is to purchase an organic vegan pastry from the frozen section of your natural food store. With a plethora of roasted root vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, it’s our go-to festive meal year after year. I would recommend making the vegan egg wash before assembling the wellington.

250 g pack vegan puff pastry

225 g pack organic tempeh, cubed and marinated 

1 bunch spinach, chopped

6 medium Portobello mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick

Pinch sea salt

2 tbsp red wine

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large leeks, white part only, trimmed and cut into ½ inch slices

2 cups celery, thinly sliced 

2 cups red onion, thinly sliced 

2 cups carrots, thinly sliced 

1 tbsp tamari

½ tsp dried sage

½ tsp dried thyme

1 large carrot, thinly cut on the diagonal and steamed

Basil pesto

To braise the tempeh

225 g pack organic tempeh

1 tbsp shoyu

1 tbsp rice mirin

1 tbsp ume plum seasoning

½ tbsp freshly squeezed ginger juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ tsp dried mixed herbs 

Cut the tempeh into bite-sized cubes. Add all the other ingredients to a jar, close the lid tightly and shake well to mix. 

To cook the tempeh

Warm a little filtered water in a heavy-based pan over a low-medium heat, add the tempeh cubes and cook covered for 5 minutes. Pour over the marinade, cover and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes, adding water if the pan dries out. Transfer to a large bowl.

The pastry

Follow the instructions on your pastry packet for thawing. Remove the pastry from the box and lay on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let sit for 15 minutes then gently roll and allow the pastry to come to room temperature. 

The greens

Bring a small pan of filtered water to a boil. Pop the spinach into a steamer basket. Cover and steam the spinach for a 1–2 minutes until wilted. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

The mushrooms

In a heavy-based pan, heat a little filtered water and cook the mushrooms with a pinch of sea salt for 7–8 minutes. Add the red wine and allow to soak into the mushrooms; cook until the pan is dry. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside. 

The filling

Using the same pan, add a splash of filtered water and sauté the garlic, leeks, celery, onions and carrots, tamari and herbs. Cook for 5–7 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the mixture to cool. Add this mixture to the tempeh bowl, use a paper towel to blot any moisture from the mixture, then transfer to a dish and chill in the fridge. 

The secret to a deliciously juicy yet flaky wellington is to pat everything dry and make sure it is completely cold before wrapping it in your vegan puff pastry.

Stuffing the wellington

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), gas 6. Layer the mushrooms onto the prepared pastry sheet, spreading them evenly along the edge of the pastry nearest to you. Layer some of the filling on top of the mushrooms, then the spinach, and top with a layer of the steamed carrots. Add a thin layer of basil pesto along the full length of the filling. Very carefully fold the pastry over the top of the mixture and press down to seal the edges. Trim any excess pastry and crimp around the edges with the back of a fork.

Using a sharp knife, score diagonally across the pastry in both directions. Put in a couple of vents by pushing a sharp knife down into the middle of the pastry. 

To make the egg wash

1 tbsp aquafaba (chickpea water)

1 tbsp almond milk

½ tsp maple syrup or brown rice syrup

To make the vegan egg wash, whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Using a pastry brush, very lightly coat the wellington. Place the baking tray with the wellington in the freezer for 10 minutes before repeating with another layer of vegan egg wash, and freezing for a further 10 minutes.

Place the baking tray in the oven for 30–35 minutes, or until golden and flaky. Beautifully layered colours of delicious vegetables encased in puff pastry will be the end result, and served with some shiitake gravy is heaven on earth. Makes 8 servings.

Note – Use any remaining filling and leftover pastry to make mini pastries that are great for snacks or picnics. The leftovers also work well as a pie filling.

Rich Shiitake Gravy

Bring on the gravy! This shiitake mushroom gravy is full of flavour and is perfect for anytime of the year. Serve this luscious, low-fat mushroom gravy over mashed potatoes, wellington or shepherd’s pie. It’s easy to make, comforting and delicious!

4 inch (10 cm) piece of kombu

3 large dried shiitake mushrooms

2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 heaped tbsp kuzu

2 tbsp tamari or shoyu

2 tbsp rice mirin

½ teaspoon dried thyme

Soak the kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms in 3 cups of filtered water for 30 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms from the water and slice the caps thinly, discarding the stems

along with the kombu. Reserve the soaking water. Heat a splash or two of filtered water in

a saucepan and sauté the dried shiitakes, fresh mushrooms, garlic and onion over a

medium heat for about 5 minutes. Dissolve the kuzu in two tablespoons of filtered water.

Add to the saucepan and stir constantly while slowly adding the soaking water. Keep

stirring until the gravy begins to simmer and thicken. Add the tamari or shoyu, mirin, and

thyme and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Blend to a cream if desired. Makes 4–6 servings.

Society - Access to Good Food Should Be Easy

SocietyKids

Consider this, there are over 800 million people who live in a state of hunger. This figure is contrasted against the 700 million who are obese. 17% of the Children in America live with food scarcity. Many industries including agriculture have contributed to shortages of drinkable water. This is in an America where there is a water menu in high–end restaurants so that guests can choose the pure water of their choice. 

Consider this, the modern food web means that local farmers lose their land and are forced to work on plantations that grow food for export rather than raise food for their own families and community.

Consider this, developed countries such as America have food desserts where the only foods available to urban populations are fast-foods and there is little or no access to fresh produce. Fast food, manufactured to sell at a cheap price is a criminal enterprise that results in disease and obesity among children and the poor. 

1.2 million people in the UK are living in low-income areas where households struggle to buy affordable fresh fruit and vegetables, according to a new study.

For people living in a food desert this can mean having to dedicate a part of an already stretched budget toward transportation costs to purchase the food they need. It can mean having to carry their food shopping a long distance. This is a particular problem older people living in these nutritionally deprived areas. 

It is likely people living in the food desserts who will pay a higher cost for their weekly food shopping and must shop in more expensive small convenience stores. These shops usually have a limited stock of good value fresh products.

Forty-one per cent of these households don’t have a car, making it even harder to get to a wide range of good value food stores. One in eight people surveyed for the report say that not being near a supermarket offering healthy food at low prices stops them eating more healthily. The situation in America is similar. 

Nearly 39.5 million were living in low-income and low- access areas, according to the USDA’s most recent food access research report, published in 2017. 

Within this group, researchers estimated that 19 million people — or 6.2% of the nation’s total population — had limited access to a supermarket or grocery store. This reflects the total neglect of the health of the next generation. It feeds the greed and arrogance of a food industry focused on profit above health, it is an important force in the creation of the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that is running wild in the affluent countries of the world.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Significant changes in the food web can happen in response to consumer action. Most food in the food deserts are made by fast food outlets and snack food manufactures. Any support you give by purchasing food items from them promote the system. This includes green washed products such as “vegan” or “natural” items that show up on fast-food menus. A “vegan burger” in a fast-food outlet is simply a way of signalling change and not a sincere move to improve the healthy options.  It is important to support community outreach that makes fruit, vegetables, and local organic foods available to a wider market.

Animals - Hey kids, Let’s Go to The Zoo

AnimalsElephants

Many American and British people are repulsed by the idea that people in China, Korea, or other parts of the world eat dogs. The practice is called a barbaric habit and uncivilized. Horsemeat is consumed in France, Belgium, and Hungary, as well as in Mongolia and Japan. The English-speaking world is horrified—these are our pets! 

In 2013, when horsemeat was found in supermarket beef patties, there was outrage. In some cases, the meat patties were 100 percent horsemeat. The legal issue was that it illustrated the difficulty involved in tracing the origin of any meat product. There was no health concern; the horsemeat would have been healthier than beef from a standard nutritional point of view. The public concern was that they were horses!

We domesticate cats and dogs to provide amusement and companionship. Foxes, minks, rabbits, and chinchilla are raised so that we can remove their skin and use their fur. We would not eat a fox; we would only wear it. We pull the feathers out of geese because they can keep us warm in a jacket with a collar made of coyote fur. We have decided that some animals are off-limits for eating, and others are OK. 

Most people would agree that the killing of wild, rare, and endangered animals is wrong. It is not wrong to put them in cages with concrete floors, behind bars, or in confined spaces. Putting them in a zoo is OK; it’s educational. 

African elephants in the wild may require up to 24 square miles as a “home range.” This is considered a healthy habitat. A captive elephant in a zoo may be given two or three acres if lucky. A trained bear kept in a cage to dress up and ride a bike would have ten to twenty square miles to roam in a healthy environment. She would also hibernate through the winter. This would be like letting you live in your bedroom closet for the rest of your life. So much for entertainment.

If we continue to think of the other animals, we share planet earth with as “the other”, with only value as food or entertainment we will continue to destroy the source of our being. All forms of life have a purpose within the web of nature.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Encourage your friends and family to learn about animals from videos. Video footage of animals in their wild habitat give a much more accurate picture of who they are and how they live. Using animals for food or entertainment makes them objects and not sentient beings. It is important that we are aware of the simple fact that we share the planet with all life and that all life has intrinsic value.

Environment - Fanning The Flames

Raging-Fires

While we were writing this issue of our newsletter, we followed the news of the tragic wildfires that burned the village of Lahaina in Hawaii to the ground. Of this writing there are close to 100 people who are confirmed dead and the whole area surrounding the city has been burned to the ground. This follows five years when fires have ravaged forest lands and small towns around the world. The Lahaina fire was only challenged by the fire that devastated Paradise California in 2018 in terms of loss of life.  We are rightfully saddened by these tragedies but not enough to talk clearly about their cause.

Over the years since the California fires, we have witnessed the largest bushfires in Australia as well as massive fires in the arctic, the Amazon, Washington, Oregon, and Central Asia. Already this year Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal have experienced unprecedented fire seasons and the predictions are there are more to come.

These fires are the result of the hottest temperatures recorded since the 1800’s. Lack of rain leading to drought, exceeding drying out of brush and forests and grass lands have created a perfect tinder box for present and future fires. It is difficult to ignore these unique conditions, yet some will.

The human effect on climate is creating unpredictable and extreme conditions. They reflect not only the increase in hot temperatures, but also unpredictable climate influences caused by warming oceans, extreme storms, and wind conditions. All of these create effects beyond human control. 

The fires, and floods and storms all displace populations destroy valuable forests, kill animals and lay down conditions which will make the following seasons worse.

Air temperatures on Earth have been rising since the Industrial Revolution. While natural variability plays some part, the greatest influences are human activities. It is the release of greenhouse gases that trap heat and warm the planet that lie at the foundation of these events. 

According to Dr Matthew Kasoar at Imperial College’s Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, the tinder-dry conditions would make it easier for them to spread. 

He said: “Fire risk increases rapidly when there are periods of prolonged hot weather, which allow the soil and vegetation to completely dry out.”

While we feel compassion for those who lost their lives in the burning of Lahaina and the destruction of that beautiful town, it is all a part of a larger tragedy. A tragedy of our own making. It is up to each of us to do our part to help heal the earth and both human and non-human life. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

The doubters and the cynics want us to take our eyes away from the roots of these problems. They want to distract us from the reality that is a global crisis of massive proportions. One of the greatest contributing factors to the breakdown of our healthy ecosystem is the effect of animal agriculture. Pollution to air, water, and soil result from our raising animals to eat and the growing of crops to feed them. Visit our website and learn how you can easily create a healthy vegan diet and become part of the solution, not the problem.

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