Down With Flu

Ooohhhhhh… so down with flu. What’s the best natural remedy for flu? I know that I can’t have chicken soup tho’. Help!!! I’ve tried lemon. Doesn’t work. 😦

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Vegetarianism And The Environment

Bellying up to environmentalism

I gave a talk in South Texas recently on the environmental virtues of a vegetarian diet. As you might imagine, the reception was chilly. In fact, the only applause came during the Q&A period when a member of the audience said that my lecture made him want to go out and eat even more meat. “Plus,” he added, “what I eat is my business — it’s personal.”

I’ve been writing about food and agriculture for more than a decade. Until that evening, however, I’d never actively thought about this most basic culinary question: Is eating personal?

We know more than we’ve ever known about the innards of the global food system. We understand that food can both nourish and kill. We know that its production can both destroy and enhance our environment. We know that farming touches every aspect of our lives — the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we need.

So it’s hard to avoid concluding that eating cannot be personal. What I eat influences you. What you eat influences me. Our diets are deeply, intimately and necessarily political.

This realization changes everything for those who avoid meat. As a vegetarian I’ve always felt the perverse need to apologize for my dietary choice. It inconveniences people. It smacks of self-righteousness. It makes us pariahs at dinner parties. But the more I learn about the negative impact of meat production, the more I feel that it’s the consumers of meat who should be making apologies.

Here’s why: The livestock industry as a result of its reliance on corn and soy-based feed accounts for over half the synthetic fertilizer used in the United States, contributing more than any other sector to marine dead zones. It consumes 70 percent of the water in the American West — water so heavily subsidized that if irrigation supports were removed, ground beef would cost $35 a pound. Livestock accounts for at least 21 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions globally — more than all forms of transportation combined. Domestic animals — most of them healthy — consume about 70 percent of all the antibiotics produced. Undigested antibiotics leach from manure into freshwater systems and impair the sex organs of fish.

It takes a gallon of gasoline to produce a pound of conventional beef. If all the grain fed to animals went to people, you could feed China and India. That’s just a start.

Meat that’s raised according to “alternative” standards (about 1 percent of meat in the United States) might be a better choice but not nearly as much so as its privileged consumers would have us believe. “Free-range chickens” theoretically have access to the outdoors. But many “free-range” chickens never see the light of day because they cannot make it through the crowded shed to the aperture leading to a patch of cement.

“Grass-fed” beef produces four times the methane — a greenhouse gas 21 times as powerful as carbon dioxide — of grain-fed cows, and many grass-fed cows are raised on heavily fertilized and irrigated grass. Pastured pigs are still typically mutilated, fed commercial feed and prevented from rooting — their most basic instinct besides sex.

Issues of animal welfare are equally implicated in all forms of meat production. Domestic animals suffer immensely, feel pain and may even be cognizant of the fate that awaits them. In an egg factory, male chicks (economically worthless) are summarily run through a grinder. Pigs are castrated without anesthesia, crated, tail-docked and nose-ringed. Milk cows are repeatedly impregnated through artificial insemination, confined to milking stalls and milked to yield 15 times the amount of milk they would produce under normal conditions. When calves are removed from their mothers at birth, the mothers mourn their loss with heart-rending moans.

Then comes the slaughterhouse, an operation that’s left with millions of pounds of carcasses — deadstock — that are incinerated or dumped in landfills. (Rendering plants have taken a nose dive since mad cow disease.)

Now, if someone told you that a particular corporation was trashing the air, water and soil; causing more global warming than the transportation industry; consuming massive amounts of fossil fuel; unleashing the cruelest sort of suffering on innocent and sentient beings; failing to recycle its waste; and clogging our arteries in the process, how would you react? Would you say, “Hey, that’s personal?” Probably not. It’s more likely that you’d frame the matter as a dire political issue in need of a dire political response.

Vegetarianism is not only the most powerful political response we can make to industrialized food. It’s a necessary prerequisite to reforming it. To quit eating meat is to dismantle the global food apparatus at its foundation.

Agribusiness has been vilified of late by muckraking journalists, activist filmmakers and sustainable-food advocates. We know that something has to be done to save our food from corporate interests. But I wonder — are we ready to do what must be done? Sure, we’ve been inundated with ideas: eat local, vote with your fork, buy organic, support fair trade, etc. But these proposals all lack something that every successful environmental movement has always placed at its core: genuine sacrifice.

Until we make that leap, until we create a culinary culture in which the meat-eaters must do the apologizing, the current proposals will be nothing more than gestures that turn the fork into an empty symbol rather than a real tool for environmental change.

James E. McWilliams, an associate professor of history at Texas State University at San Marcos and a recent fellow in the agrarian studies program at Yale University, is most recently the author of “Just Food.” November 19th 2009.

What I Wanna Buy This Week

Hi all.

After doing some blogwalking, I read some extremely interesting stuff. I-MUST-LOSE-WEIGHT. Well, 30kgs to be precise. Haha. I’m so fat, but I’m still ok with it at the moment. One of the goals that I set when I re-vegequarinizing myself is that I wanna eat healthier and lose some weight. I wanna wear M-L size, not XXL like now. 😦

This Sunday I wanna buy a week’s worth of food items from Giant/Tesco. The things that I plan to buy are:

  1. Vegetable : tomato, salad, carrot, mushroom, mixed veg, broccoli, rocket salad (if I can find it), eggplant.
  2. Bread : Fresh baked wholemeal buns, wholemeal bread.
  3. Spiral pasta.
  4. Salmon.
  5. Dairy products : cheese, fresh milk.
  6. Fruits : Banana, grapes (I wanna freeze the grapes to make lollies).
  7. Potato chips (sorry, can’t resist).
  8. Vegetable stock.
  9. Dark chocolate (85% cocoa) – I’m a sweet tooth.
  10. Diet coke.
  11. Potato.
  12. Herbs and spices : parsley, ground chili, ground garlic, ground black pepper.

I wanna make a small resolution this week : PREPARE AND BRING OWN FOOD TO WORK. No buying of food except snack peanuts and mineral water at work. Plese God help me. Ameen…

♥ Nurul~

Excellent New Packaging Idea

Clever Packaging : Food for Thought

As we heard from Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk last week, there needs to be an “all-out assault on our ignorance of food.”

Chinese designer Daizi Zheng created a range of healthy snacks packaged to look like drugs and junk food. Called Stereotype, the project includes carrot sticks packaged like cigarettes and celery sticks in a french fry carton. Stereotype is about helping people eat more healthier through their everyday habits.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unhealthy diet is amongst one of the leading causes of the major non-communicable diseases. Using the recognizable stereotyping packaging would make people feel more physically and physiologically connected with those daily objects. By giving the good food a little make over, it could contribute the availability of healthy food and encourages people to make a change for their everyday life.” -Daizi Zheng

Carrot sticks ala Marlboro

Celery sticks ala McD fries

Blueberries ala Boots Supplement Pack? Nice….

**I really love this new concept. Hope that it’ll be largely commercialized in Malaysia. I want mixed veg in a jelly bean packet. 🙂 Must be extremely nice 🙂

What The World Eats?

Come see What The World Eats. A few years ago photographer Peter Menzel and his wife Faith D’Aluisio started to photograph what family’s around the globe eat and wrote down what their weekly expenditure is. In 2005 they published an award winning book called Hungry Planet: What The World Eats.

This project turned out to be so educational that he’s currently still giving lectures at universities about this very subject. A current exhibition is held until May 9, 2010 is hosted by the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota.

As you look at the photographs and see what they spend per week, you can draw a lot of different conclusions about their diet and their surroundings, their personal/economic circumstance and how globalization has influenced what people eat.

A quote from his website about his book:
Today we are witnessing the greatest change in global diets since the invention of agriculture. Globalization, mass tourism, and giant agribusiness have filled American supermarket shelves with extraordinary new foods and McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Kraft Cheese Singles are being exported to every corner of the planet.

U.S.A. : The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: 242 €

Favorite foods: spaghetti, french fries, sesame chicken

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Family recipe: Okra and mutton

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
Favorite foods: fish, pasta with ragu, hot dogs, frozen fish sticks

Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City
Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25

Favorite foods: sashimi, fruit, cake, potato chips

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Family recipe: Potato soup with cabbage

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat (This favorite is only prepared to mark a special occasion, like the end of Ramadan.)

Great Britain: The Bainton family of Cllingbourne Ducis
Food expenditure for one week: 155.54 British Pounds or $253.15
Favorite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Favorite foods: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken

United States: The Caven family of California
Food expenditure for one week: $159.18
Favorite foods: beef stew, berry yogurt sundae, clam chowder, ice cream

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Family recipe: Mushroom, cheese and pork

**I actually cannot believe how much we’re eating in a week. And some of them look extremely unhealthy. But it’s good though that all the people in the photos are normal sized. I guess they’re doing a lot of sports and physical activities. I’m gonna do the same thing next week. Buy everything a week’s worth and take photo. Then I won’t buy anything else. MY VOTE GOES TO THE MANZO FAMILY OF SICILY 🙂 (Looks like my own food)

Why I Luv The Tofu So Much?

Tofu is so versatile. Can be fried lightly, cooked in gravy, oyster sauce, soup etc. Yummy. A lot of tofu in the market nowadays. Soy tofu, egg tofu, traditional tofu, Japanese tofu, Chinese tofu. Yumyumyumyum. When can they make tofu that taste like chicken/beef? 🙂

Pasta. The Best.

Pasta with mushroom. I luv.

When I first came to eat vegequarianly when I was back in Scotland, I cooked pasta A LOT. I’m a hyper person, so I need a lot of energy. With no guide from anybody, I was lost. Haha. So, I tried to cook variety types of pasta. Whenever I get to go to Inverness, I’d buy a lot of vegetarian stuff and some seafood products. But my fav was always pasta cooked with mushroom and cheese. Sometimes I add prawns and crabstick. And of course a lot of extra vegetable as side dish. I wanna start eating like that again. I miss it. I’ll do it today 🙂

♥ Nurul~