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Cows Without Tails, Quinoa Ethics, Health, TV, and Other Vegan News

Every Friday I post the most interesting vegan news articles and blogs I’ve read. This week in vegan news …

1. Genetically Modified Cows?

Photo by Steve Arnold

The debate over GMOs continues. Back in October New Zealand scientists successfully cloned a hypoallergenic cow. Trevor Stokes, in an article for LiveScience, wrote:

A team of New Zealand researchers genetically engineered a cow named Daisy to produce milk free of β-lactoglobulin protein that can cause allergic skin, digestive and respiratory reactions predominantly in infants.

Daisy, the genetically engineered cow, also has an odd trait–no tail. It made some vegans ask the obvious question–wouldn’t it make more sense to just not drink the milk of another species rather than try to change the species altogether?

“There’s a possibility you’ve already eaten this type of food, as some ranchers admit cloned cattle have made it into the food chain, ” wrote Dr. Mercola. “Even Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack couldn’t say for sure whether cloned meat was already on the market when asked whether Americans are eating unlabled clones right now.”

With the growing worry over GMOs “there is talk of of Wal-mart, PepsiCo, ConAgra and at least 20 major food companies possibly switching sides and lobbying for national labeling [of GMO foods],” wrote Heather Callagan at Activist Post.

2. Surprise! Eating Vegan Makes you Healthy

doctor_stethoscopeDespite what kids say, eating fruits and vegetables may make them happier. A study in British Journal of Health Psychology found that as people ate more fruits and veggies, they “experienced increased levels of calmness, happiness, and energy.”

On World Cancer Day Dr. Neal Barnard wondered why meat doesn’t have a warning label just like cigarettes. “Unlike foods from plants that enhance our health, meat and dairy products have the same hazards as cigarette smoking, including increased risks of strokes, heart disease and cancer,” wrote Dr. Barnard.

Need more motivation to eat healthy? Vegetarians have a 40% lower chance of developing cancer and a 32% lower chance of cardiovascular disease according to two studies recently published.

3. Eat Quinoa? You May Be a Terrible Person

quinoa_seeds_homegrownJoanna Blythman started an ongoing debate when she wrote an article for The Guardian, Can Vegans Stomach the Unpalatable Truth About Quinoa?, arguing Westerners have driven the price of quinoa so high that those who produce it can’t afford to eat it anymore. “There’s a ghastly irony when the Andean peasant’s staple grain becomes too expensive at home because it has acquired hero product status among affluent foreigners preoccupied with personal health, animal welfare and reducing their carbon ‘foodprint.'”

PETA responded arguing meat–and animal agriculture–is responsible for most world hunger. Ari LeVaux at Slate chimed in saying buying less quinoa could actually hurt, not help, the producers of quinoa. Esquire ran an article titled, The Dark Side of Qunioa. The blogs went wild. Susie Cagle rounds up the controversy, asking, “Are you a terrible person for eating quinoa?”

Ultimately the quinoa debate isn’t about vegetarians or vegans, and in a way it’s not even really about quinoa. This is a trope in political food writing that we see time and again, wherein those who seek to eat ethically are called out for their failings on the human labor front. It’s not baseless, but it’s usually kind of mean-spirited and disingenuous, and it ignores the labor abuses throughout the mainstream food system.

4. Vegans on TV – Good and Bad

The Good – Annie and Dan Shannon finally finished their project of veganizing The Betty Crocker Cookbook and published Betty Goes Vegan this week. “I can say with complete confidence that no one in the world loves food the way a vegan does,” wrote Annie. They even stopped by the Today Show to cook pesto chicken and vegetables along with sweet potato risotto.

The Bad – Emily Dwass asks, Is There a Place for Vegan Cooks on The Taste? The Taste, a cooking show similar to The Voice, featured a segment showcasing vegan chefs preparing food for their blind auditions. The vegan chefs included Dayna McLeod, who prepared a delicious looking Brazilian black bean cake with mango salsa served on top of coconut rice. Unfortunately, the general tone of the segment seemed one of mockery. Dwass wrote:

For a show called The Taste, it was odd that there was so little discussion of how Mcleod’s food actually, well, tasted. Instead, the judges all appeared to be offended by the very idea of her vegan creation.

5. Other News

Photo by Marilyn Peddle

In other news the European horse meat scandal continues to grow as one of Britain’s biggest supermarkets pulled its brand of frozen beef burgers from its shelves, and, according to The Telegraph, “labour will today demand to know whether schoolchildren and hospital patients could have been unwittingly fed beef contaminated with horsemeat.”

Sad news for R&B-loving vegans everywhere. Just 35 days after vowing to go vegan in 2013, singer Ne-Yo has fell off the wagon. He announced on Twitter he will add “just fish” to his diet in order to get more protein.

Finally, Lani Muelrath released Fit Quickies, which she described as “the first real plant-based fitness book out there–or vegan fitness book.” Feel free to check out her Q&A with Change For A Year for more info.


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