Monday, August 31, 2009

speaking of female sexuality and culture...

Just imagine me, fra la-la la-la, minding my own business trying to fax something at FedEx Kinko's, and wham--obnoxious cultural representations of my sex/gender on a lame greeting card.

Let's take a look at the messages: naggy, needy, housework-oriented, more romance/less sex, and the like.

And one of my biggest pet peeves, the whole "take me out."

Why couldn't the button say "let's go out" or "night on the town" or "date night" or anything that does not imply that the man is active and the female is passive?

Rescue me. Take me out. Pay for me. Take care of me. I'm your dolly.

I know some readers are shaking their heads at how I am blowing a trivial card out of proportion. But I think we all know that this greeting card does not exist in isolation--it is microcosmic of larger hegemonic institutions of gender and heterosexuality.

It seems to me that if two presumably competent and consenting adults are engaged in some sort of relationship with one another, there should be equal partnership.

Oh right...but men and women are separate but equal. How could I forget?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

female sexuality: a no-win situation

Operating within mainstream cultural frameworks, female sexuality (in this context meaning biologically female with a "feminine" gender performance) never wins. Consider the options:

1) As a female, your sexuality is repressed and/or heavily regulated (I won't even get into the whys and the hows)


2) As a female having and acting out on sexual desire, you are "shamed" through pejoratives and other degrading remarks.


3) As a female, an expression or discussion of sexuality is an attempt to gain (male heterosexual) attention.


4) As a female, whatever your sexual preferences are, they are undermined as your authentic desires and instead cast as having been shaped by an all-pervasive male sexuality and patriarchal order.

I am not denying that some or all of these factors may be applicable to varying degrees in varying circumstances, but I resent the fact that all of these factors are active within the hegemonic mind at all times.

Give a girl a break.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

oh no, ozone woes

New scientific studies link nitrous oxide to the depletion of the ozone layer.

The New York Times reports:

Most of the nitrous oxide in the atmosphere emerges naturally, through the action of bacteria in the soil, the researchers say. But the gas is also produced by human activity, through the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers, the application of livestock manure to fields, the burning of biofuels and in other ways.

Though nitrous oxide is not regulated under the Montreal Protocol, the 1987 agreement to limit emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals, the researchers say it is emerging as the leading artificial cause of ozone loss.

The researchers, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, report their findings in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. get the full article

I know a way to cut back on nitrogen-based fertilizers...the government can stop subsidizing corn and encouraging its over-production.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

loco for local

Today was my first time at the Foggy Bottom Farmer's Market, which takes place every Wednesday from 2:30-7:30.

What a treat! I bought fresh vegetables, fruit, baba ghanoush, bell pepper hummus, and sunflower flax seed bread for the entire week for the fabulous price of $30.00. Not to mention I bought them from the farmers who had grown them.

Since I find hand-selecting all of the fresh and wholesome things that enter my body to be intimate and fun, the entire process is a joyful and therapeutic experience of mindfulness and connection to oneself.

Just look at this bread. Have you ever seen bread so beautiful?

It's nice to know that my food hasn't traveled across the country or world, and that I can support small communities and businesses while feeding myself all sorts of deliciousness.

Can't wait until next Wednesday.

those extra pounds: eating disorders, self, and others

One of my readers emailed me a great article about the potential strain of orthorexia on the sufferer's health, as well as on relationships with others.

(I just want to say that I love when my readers comment and/or contact me. So thank you.)

I know that the article focused on orthorexia (obsession with "healthy" and "pure" foods to the degree of nutrient deficiency and/or caloric deficiency and/or disordered eating patterns and/or other extreme behavior), but I would like to broaden the discussion back to eating disorders as a general term.

This specific discussion pertains to restrictive eaters who need to put on some weight in the recovery process (and also chronic dieters who are underweight). Often, it's the last 5-10 that are the most unbearable--when you can "get away" with certain types of restrictions and not "have an eating disorder."

So, I'd like to kindly remind everyone to think about what those last 5-10 lbs are. They are:
  • dinners with friends and loved ones
  • trying different kinds of foods, tastes, and textures
  • focusing in class/work because you are full instead of thinking about food because you are still hungry
  • eating cupcakes because frosting is your favorite treat ever
  • skipping the gym sometimes to play with your little brother
  • having a couple cocktails on the weekend to unwind
  • muscle because you are strong and healthy enough to have great workouts
  • mindfulness because you are in the moment instead of calculating calories and cardio and being hungry
  • love for yourself because you want to be full, to enjoy, and to be alive
  • and one of my all time favorites, those extra pounds let others--specifically young girls and women--know that they can be happy, successful, fun, and beautiful with a natural and healthy body.
Much love,
The Colonic

Monday, August 24, 2009

Traitor Joe's strikes again: the seafood scandal

I have been blogging about excessive waste of plastic used to package vegetables at Traitor Joe's, but now I have stumbled upon other very disturbing TJ practices.

Trader Joe's sells extremely unsustainable seafood. In fact, it sells 15 of 22 redlist seafoods. What is the redlist of seafood? This includes seafood that:
  • They have a life history that makes them very vulnerable to fishing
  • They are commonly sourced from overfished and depleted stocks, or are being fished at such a high rate that stocks are being depleted rapidly
  • The fishing methods used to catch the fish are often highly destructive to other oceans creatures and/or habitats. more info
Greenpeace has launched a campaign against Traitor Joe's, demanding more sustainable seafood policies. Here is the quirky sum, written from the witty 1st perspective of Trader Joe himself:

Did you know that Chilean sea bass is one of the most sought-after fish in the world? They are so scarce, I have to hire pirates to help me catch them and secretly put them on store shelves. Unless people stop eating Chilean sea bass, it may become commercially extinct within five years. Whoa! Maybe I can sell more and more and the fish will become commercially extinct in 3 years. That's the Traitor Joe way of doing business.

Another one of my favorite fish to sell is orange roughy. They live in deep cold waters, hiding among seamounts and canyons. The way to catch orange roughy is to use a big bottom trawl. It scoops up and destroys everything in its path. So, when you buy an orange roughy, it comes with a side of tree coral, deep-sea sharks, dogfish and deep-sea catfish. Now, I say that's getting your money’s worth! more info

Tell Traitor Joe's that you do not stand for unsustainable fishing practices--and remind the store manager next time you're in.

Aside from the sheer disregard for our scarce natural resources, TJ deceives consumers through attempting to greenwash itself. If a store knowingly acquires fish from methods including bottom trawling (when a net scrapes the bottom of the ocean floor, collecting/destroying coral reef and other sea life in the way...not to mention the coral may be 100s of years old...), that is a spit in the face of sustainability.


Download the flash player

Trader Joe's blows: a follow-up

I was impressed that TJ's got back to my complaint regarding superfluous plastic waste in a mere matter of days. Check out the response I received:

We are currently evaluating the information that is available concerning our packaging.

We evaluate every product for packaging requirements and we continue to explore economical Earth friendly alternatives that can deliver freshness and shelf life without preservatives. We are also using compostible [not my typo] packaging for much of our packaged produce.

We are always working to balance our desire to use as little packaging as possible with our efforts to keep our products safe, fresh and cost effective. Since our company philosophy is based on providing quality merchandise at value prices, we must consider cost in the type of
packaging we choose.

We have forwarded your comments and concerns to our Product Steering Committee. At Trader Joe's, we are always striving to improve, and your comments give us the opportunity to do just that.

Hmmm. In terms of using biodegradable packaging for vegetables, I was skeptical. So I went to Trader Joe's (which is conventiently next door to my new apartment) and took a survey.

My findings? There is no reason to believe that the plastic is cellophane or any other compostable material. I believe if this were the case, the packing would be marked in some way.

I am thinking that the response refers to the cardboard-esque material used in conjunction with plastic in the packaging of vegetables.

Replying that the paper products used in packaging are compostable does not address my concern about the plastic being used unnecessarily.

Let Trader Joe's know you are concerned about waste produced by wrapping vegetables in plastic.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mexico City gives plastic bags the boot

Finally, some good news. Last week, Mexico City outlawed stores from giving consumers plastic bags in which to carry their purchased goods. Now, these bags must be biodegradable.

Here's some more background info from CNN:

Mexico City becomes the second large metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw the bags. San Francisco in March 2007 enacted an ordinance that gave supermarkets six months and large chain pharmacies about a year to phase out the bags. Los Angeles is set to impose a ban if the state of California does not enact a statewide 25-cent fee per bag by July.

About 90 percent of the bags used in the United States are not recycled.

Bans and other restrictions on plastic bags are in place in several countries.

China has adopted a strict limit, reducing litter and eliminating the use of 40 billion bags, the World Watch Institute said, citing government estimates. Although compliance has been spotty, violation of the law carries a possible fine of 10,000 yuan ($1,463), World Watch said.

In Tanzania, selling the bags carries a maximum six-month jail sentence and a fine of 1.5 million shilling ($1,137).

Mumbai, India, outlawed the bags in 2000 and cities in Australia, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan have imposed bans or surcharges. Ireland reported cutting use of the bags by 90 percent after imposing a fee on each one.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

if it walks like a duck: sports and the regulation of female bodies

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a's a duck.

Substitute woman for duck, and one has illuminating insight as to what our culture finds appropriate femaleness, as well as the absence of wiggle room.

Just ask South African athlete Caster Semenya. Muscular body? Deep voice? Stellar athletic performance? Must be a man.

Top it off, Semenya now needs to take a "gender verification test."

News flash: gender is not a more sophisticated or politically correct term for sex. Sex refers to chromosomes and genitals, and gender refers to social performance. Therefore, a person whose biological sex is male may have a female gender performance.

This brings about another issue: how do members of trans communities participate in sports teams? I will guest post this on the Trans Blog Group and hopefully get some feedback.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hey USDA, keep GE trees away

You have to wonder, in whose interest does the USDA operate?

Here’s a great idea: Let's bring into our country a genetically-engineered, non-native tree that is known to be wildly invasive, explosively flammable, and insatiably thirsty for ground water. Then let's clone thousands of these living firecrackers and plant them in forested regions across seven Southern states, allowing them to grow, flower, produce seeds, and spread into native environments.

Once this eucalyptus tree is released into the wild, who knows how far and wide the seed will contaminate, dominate, and who knows what else. Despite the potential for catastrophe, the USDA welcomed ArborGen's genetically modified tree into the United States after New Zealand, which has outlawed genetically engineered crops, gave it the boot. The tree is one final approval away from being released into the wild.

Why did ArborGen make this freaky tree to begin with? The eucalyptus has been modified to create more cellulose, which can then be used to create more ethanol.

This has happened with practically no media coverage or public participation. It is happening solely because a handful of global speculators hope to profit by making ethanol from cellulose-enhanced eucalyptus – never mind that their self-aggrandizement would put America's native forests in danger of irreversible contamination by these destructive, invasive Frankentrees. full article

Take action here

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

why TRADER JOE'S blows

If the image to the left was in an opening scene of a film, it might be foreshadowing a landfill or perhaps the biopsy of a sea animal revealing a digestive track filled with plastic.

This is not a horror movie. This is your friendly neighborhood Trader Joe's.

Don't get me wrong--the prices at Trader Joe's are out of this world. But all of the plastic used to wrap the vegetables will be staying on this planet forever (not to mention interfering with the natural decomposing of other biodegradable products in the landfill).

It has come to the point where I buy everything from Trader Joe's besides produce, and journey elsewhere for my vegetables.

However, I am still deeply bothered by this egregious waste of plastic and disregard for natural resources. Today, I decided to locate the manager of a nearby Trader Joe's and finally get my question answered. "Why are all of your vegetables contained and wrapped in plastic?"

He explained to me that since Trader Joe's does not have scales at the register, everything needs to be pre-weighed and packaged so it can be scanned at check-out.

Are you kidding me? Get a grip, get a scale, and get this unnecessary plastic out of my face. You can let Trader Joe's know how you feel about this by sending a comment here.

Lastly, I would just like to offer this gentle reminder: there is no need to use plastic bags when collecting unwrapped vegetables from whichever super market you shop. You can simply place all of your vegetables in a reusable bag, and your produce is weighed appropriately at the register.

As a person with OCD tendencies, I do sympathize with the undeniable need to separate and control that many shoppers may experience. In such a case, I would suggest re-using the plastic produce baggies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

women at war

Great article from the NY Times

They have changed the way the United States military goes to war. They have reshaped life on bases across Iraq and Afghanistan. They have cultivated a new generation of women with a warrior’s ethos — and combat experience — that for millennia was almost exclusively the preserve of men.

And they have done so without the disruption of discipline and unit cohesion that some feared would unfold at places like Warhorse.

Separate restrooms, gynecological medical equipment, access to birth control and condoms on base...things are sure changing for women in the military.

“There was a lot of debate over where women should be,” said Brig. Gen. Heidi V. Brown, one of the two highest ranking women in Iraq today, recalling the start of the war. “Here we are six years later, and you don’t hear about it. You shouldn’t hear about it.”

But as much as things are changing, risks of sexual harassment and assault have not.

Both are underreported, soldiers and officers here say, because the rigidity of the military chain of command can make accusations uncomfortable and even risky for victims living in close quarters with the men they accuse.

Nor have tendencies to degrade women who step into "male" space

“You’re a bitch, a slut or a dyke — or you’re married, but even if you’re married, you’re still probably one of the three,” Sergeant Bradford said.

I quite enjoyed the conclusion of the article

The issues that arise in having women in combat — harassment, bias, hardship, even sexual relations — are, she and others said, a matter of discipline, maturity and professionalism rather than an argument for separating the sexes.

Read the full article

Sunday, August 16, 2009

the dirty truth about dirt

"Deadly conflicts are breaking out over our dwindling supply of fertile soil."

While the top five centimeters of the earth may seem trivial, soil is necessary for the growth of food, to hold and clean water, to help regulate the climate, and is used to build dwellings. One handful of dirt contains tens of billions of live organisms.

But we've lost 1/3 of our top soil in the last 100 years. The Brazilian rain forest is being cut down to increase the supply of soil (and we ain't got enough rain forest left to just demolish).

I've pre-ordered Dirt! The Movie, which will be made available for purchase in September. This is just one of those films where the trailer does not contain nearly enough information. I will be glad to share what I learn and pass around my copy of the DVD when it arrives.

You can also get involved here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kleenex caves after 5 years of pressure

Kimberly Clark, producer of Kleenex, has been clear cutting the Boreal Forest so that, piece by piece, we can all wipe and blow away what is left of our ancient trees. And since 80% of the original forests on earth have been destroyed, these trees are not just ancient--they are a precious and scarce source of biodiversity. Thanks to a five-year grassroots campaign launched by Greenpeace, KC has finally caved.

Kimberly-Clark has set a goal of obtaining 100 percent of the wood fibre used in its products – including the flagship brand Kleenex – from environmentally responsible sources. By 2011, Kimberly-Clark will ensure that 40 percent of its North American fiber is either recycled or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – a 71 percent increase from 2007 levels, representing over 600,000 tonnes of fibre. Also by 2011, it will eliminate any fiber from the North American Boreal Forest that is not FSC-certified. full article

Either way...until 2011, please stick to paper products with sufficient recycled content.

It's also awesome to see what can be accomplished through the grassroots and student networks. The Kleercut campaign took place campus by campus across America, with students leading the way.

FrankenSKYn: engineering the climate

Climate engineering is creepy.

Advocated as a Plan B, climate engineering could be a last stitch effort to reverse the warming of the planet if meaningful reductions in emissions cannot be done fast enough.

So what is it?

The most commonly discussed form of climate engineering, so far, is to loft aerosol particles into the stratosphere to reproduce the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions.


But another technique was singled out in Friday’s report for the Copenhagen Consensus Center by J. Eric Bickel, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in decision analysis, and Lee Lane, the co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Geoengineering Research Project. They conclude that the most promising form of climate engineering now appears to be a fleet of wind-powered, unmanned vessels on the ocean that would disperse a “an extremely fine mist of sea water droplets” that would be lofted upwards, causing clouds over the ocean to brighten and reflect more sunlight.

Given the fact that weather is a chaotic system--meaning the slightest variance in input could yield a tremendous change in output--turning the sky into a sci-fi lab sounds like a terrible idea to me. And I'm not the only one.

While Dr. Pielke [a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado] agrees with the call for more research into stratospheric aerosols and cloud brightening, he says that there are too many uncertainties “to allow for any sort of meaningful cost-benefit analysis” because there could be unexpectedly large costs if something goes wrong...the economic damages could far exceed the benefits if something goes wrong.

Read the full article.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the pedicure predicament

My long-time readers may remember I post a while back, soy milk and Manolos, where I came out of the (shoe) closet and had a candid discussion about the intersections of classism, veganism, and shopping. Well, I have made it a year without buying any new leather items (thanks to Stella McCartney)--but the discussion is far from over.

Manicures and pedicures. Where do I start?

So not necessary, and so not eco-friendly. Since I have been getting manicures and pedicures consistently since middle school, my cuticles actually need pruning now because they are so accustomed to the process that they experience some sort of super-human hyper-cuticle growth. Not to mention the fact that I pee every 30 minutes has just exacerbated my cuticle condition.

That's right, those virgin nails that seem so clean and shiny alone and unadultered are no longer possible for me. My cuticles go berzerk without regular maintence.

I'm not even going to lie--aside from my OCD need for short short short, even nails without peeling dead skin, the sight of fresh, crisp, shiny, un-chipped nail polish brightens my mood. And why not? I paint my nails with bright, happy colors.

But it's not all so bright and happy. As the foul odor of toxic chemicals fill my nostrils in the salon, I wonder how can I sit here and actually pay for some crap that is or has been tested on animals and is poisonous for myself and environment.

What's in nail polish?

Nitrocellulose, or gun cotton was developed in the 19th century. It is highly combustible and even explosive but it creates films which can hold other substances in suspension.

...Nail polish ingredients often include toluene.

Solvents such as toluene and xylene are petroleum-based products that have been linked to cancer.

...Formaldehyde (also called formalin) may cause allergic reactions in some people and is unsafe for use by asthmatic people. It is a known carcinogen - that is, it definitely does cause cancer. It is still used in some nail products, though it is being replaced in many brands because of health concerns.

...Nail polish ingredients that cause concern include phthalates (pronounced "thal-ates").

Phthalates are used to keep nail polish from chipping. They do this by having a plasticising effect on the other ingredients.

Exposure to phthalates has been blamed for birth defects. Male babies may have had their future reproducive abilities compromised by their mothers' preference for a nail polish.

...One of the main concerns about pthalates is that these chemicals make the skin more penetrable. This leaves the person using them more at risk from other chemicals which can thereby get into the bloodstream.

Okay, I'll stop there...but visit the site for more info.

So now what?

There are some better alternatives. Buy and bring your own nail polish to the salon, read ingredients to make sure that your polish does not contain toluene, phthalates or formaldehyde (especially if you are pregnant), and look for non-toxic brands ("recommended" ones are Zoya, Pollished Mama, and Acqurella--but I have yet to test these. Check back later for my two cents)

Also, try Priti soy-based nail polish remover, which is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and is biodegradable. This also has yet to be officially tested by The Colonic.

Check out the link for a do-it-yourself eco-manicure (vegans beware: one step requires honey), or just bring your own products for your next appointment.

PETA still not clever enough

What PETA really means...

I'd rather exploit women
than think of an effective way to raise awareness about animal cruelty

Whole Foods has a whole lot of crap

I do love Whole Foods, but despite better options, a Whole Foods shopper still needs to bring in some scrutiny along with those reusable bags.

The emperor of natural foods, Whole Foods Market (WFM), has no clothes. Throughout the 2009 summer months, OCA has been alerting organic consumers to the troubling fact that the overwhelming majority of grocery items (approximately 2/3) sold by WFM, even their private label "365" brand, are not certified organic, but rather so-called "natural" products that are typically just conventional products in disguise.

While these products do contain some organic ingredients, they do not contain the necessary 95% organic content to merit certification (excluding water and salt).

Note: products made with minimally 70% organic ingredient may be labeled, for example, "soup made with organic vegetables."

But thanks to thousands of emails from members of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA):

Last week, WFM announced it was launching a new "healthy eating" initiative with a greater emphasis on organics [in 2010]. In a highly publicized speech in the UK, John Mackey confessed the company's product selection had veered off course. full article

Actually, John Mackey went even further and said:

"We sell a bunch of junk. We've decided if Whole Foods doesn't take a leadership role in educating people about a healthy diet, who the heck is going to do it?" full article

I do not believe an appropriate excuse is that the organic certification process is too expensive. According to the United States Department of Agriculture:

The Agricultural Management Assistance Program, authorized by the Federal Crop Insurance Act, allocates funds to 15 States to reimburse producers for the cost of organic certification. Producers may be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of their organic certification costs, not to exceed $500. The eligible States are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. read more

But the saga continues. Is the organic certification even truly meaningful? The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has recently responded in a press release to claims that standards are relaxing as organics are rising in popularity. The OTA responds:

The federal organic standards have not been “relaxed.” Rigorously enforced standards can and do go hand-in-hand with growth. The author and those pitching this story have generously borrowed the rhetorical technique of setting up a false choice. The industry and OTA pushed for national organic regulations that consumers could rely on. Organic agriculture and products remain the most strictly regulated, as well as the fastest growing, food system in the United States today. Read more

Suffice it to say, no matter what label is on any product, READ THE INGREDIENTS.

Now for a side story: after realizing that my "organic" shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion are not certified as organic, I read every blasted bottle at Whole Foods today and came out with only one certified organic lotion (Nature's Gate, Rainwater Organics) but no certified organic shampoo, conditioner, or body wash.

Learn more about organic certification here

Note to readers: I do not mean to say by the title of this post that all foods that are not certified organic are "crap." I mean to say that misleading products meant to deceive the consumer are "crap."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sending fake lettes to Congress--how low will coal go?

We all know coal is a source of dirty energy, that "clean coal" is still dirty energy...but perhaps the dirtiest of all is the politics of the coal industry.

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), an alliance of coal and utility companies, hired Alexandria, Va.-based Hawthorn Group for the new effort. Hawthorn worked for the coal group earlier this year, coordinating outreach on the House climate bill. During that project, Hawthorn subcontractor Bonner & Associates sent at least three members of Congress a total of 12 fraudulent letters purporting to be from groups opposed to the legislation.

It gets worse. Enter "America's Power Army," a group of 225,000 alleged volunteers who will be storming town halls and other community forums with a pro-coal agenda.

But much about the identity of the volunteers and how they operate is hidden from public view, said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a watchdog group.

"These public policy debates are too important to have the outcomes hinge on these fake AstroTurf campaigns" that employ "guerilla tactics," Slocum said. "We're all just left guessing what entities are doing and how lawmakers are influenced by what may be a very corporate-run campaign."

Lawmakers, as well, Slocum said, need to know whether concerns they are hearing in their districts and states are organic "or whether it's being orchestrated by hired guns working for the coal industry." full article

And since Obama tries to hide his secret meetings with the coal industry, I have to get a little Thomas Friedman:

"Attention all young Americans: Your climate future is being decided right now in the cloakrooms of the Capitol, where the coal lobby holds huge sway....Play hardball or don't play at all."

Want to do more? Get involved here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

dear readers,

My blog is sort of like a personal journal in that the general themes of my posts mirror changing themes in my own life. While I always cover a variety of topics, one can definitely see concentration shifting from gender to sexuality to politics to atheism to environmentalism to veganism to food etc etc.

Well, beloved readers, we are at a crossroads once more. You see, I have moved to DC and am beginning law school, and cannot help but feel that my blog will take on more legal content.

Cheers to adventure

Love always,
The Colonic

rediscovering food: a cooking show to help eating disorder recovery

Check out the trailer for the Zelah De Bella Show, a cooking show to help eating disorder recovery. Victims of eating disorders experience a disconnect with feelings and self...and rediscovering food is a really meaningful way to help rediscover ourselves. Can't wait.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

ZAYTINYA: favorite vegan-friendly dc hot spot

Sometimes, a vegan needs a break from homemade spicy flax seed couscous or BBQ seitan and onions. Sometimes, you just need a night out with upscale dining and a fabulous cocktail.

For the animal-free consumer, nice restaurants can be difficult. It's all about dead cow, chicken, and fish. Enter Zaytinya, my fav DC dining hot spot.

Not only does Zaytinya feature egg- and dairy-free menus, but the servers are well-versed on which items on the menu are completely vegan. Unfortunately, asking about gluten-free options slipped my mind, but I will ask next time.

In my humble opinion, the best options are the cauliflower, mushroom, falafel and fava bean dishes.

calling all cellophane

We all know that plastic is a huge pain in my carbon footprint, so I am very excited to announce my recent discovery of cellophane wrap.

Cellophane wrap looks just like plastic, but instead is made of cellulose and is 100% biodegradable. My favorite vegan bakery (Sticky Fingers in Washington DC) wraps all to-go goodies in cellophane.

I haven't quite figured out from which market one may purchase this magical wrap (because I am in the middle of moving across the country and am currently blogging to escape from the horror of furniture delivery gone awry). Rest assured, I will figure it out this week.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

going going GONE

Dear Readers,

I just moved across the country (from LA to DC), so I need to couple to days to get settled before The Colonic is back on track.

Stay posted

The Colonic

Monday, August 3, 2009

challenging chicken

I took a gander at Vegan News, "Episode 10 @ the Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary"

A few things struck me.

1) These battered, molting, pathetic-looking chickens were rescued from a wide variety of "organic" and "free-range" or "cage-free" chicken farms. Also note that the sad chickens are much healthier in this video than when they first arrived to the Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary.

2) The interviewers asks a great question. There are always those people who claim to know Aunty Emme and Uncle Joe with their happy healthy chickens on some magical happy healthy farm. What is wrong with taking their eggs? Isn't the egg just waste, something left behind?

The Peaceful Prairie representative (or owner or employee, not sure) explains that these allegedly happy chickens still come from hatcheries, where roosters are automatically slaughtered. And as soon as the hens have (over) produced as many eggs as possible, they are slaughtered as well.

3) Hens are forced to produce such an unnatural amount of eggs during their lives that they become nutrient deficient.

4) Interesting fact: chickens eat the content of their own unfertilized eggs because of the rich nutrients inside. Because so many of the chickens at Peaceful Prairie have been de-beaked and mutilated, PP caretakers will break some eggs open for the chickens (who chooowwww down. had no idea)

Note: chickens are de-beaked in order to prevent them from pecking each other to death out of craziness from hyper-confinement and torture, and also to keep them from breaking open and eating their own eggs.

Vegan News

How super groovy--a Vegan news channel!

I don't have time to explore all of the options (since I'm supposed to be packing to move across the country), so for now, just check it out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Obama's betrayal: no wonder the White House has its own garden

It's no wonder that President Obama planted a vegetable garden in the White House--if I knew that I was destroying the FDA, consumer health, and sustainable agriculture, I'd plant my own garden as well.

That's right. Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor has been appointed as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety. No big deal--just a lobbyist for one the largest, most manipulative multinational biotechnology corporations that "owns" genetically engineered seeds that blow around and contaminate farms that do not even purchase Monsanto seeds to begin with. Then Monsanto drives these farms into debt with court battles over patent infringement.

Oh wait--it gets better. How can seeds be patented? In the case of J.E.M. Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, the Supreme Court legitimated the patenting of genetically engineered seeds. But who wrote the majority opinion? Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto attorney.

Back to Obama's betrayal, part II. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff is rumored to be President Obama’s choice for Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety--the same person who sought to deny consumers the right to know whether their milk had been genetically engineered with Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). rBGH was previously owned by Monsanto.

Here's a little more on Michael Taylor:
Taylor is widely credited with ushering Monsanto’s recombinant bovine growth hormone through the FDA regulatory process and into the milk supply — unlabeled. A Government Accounting Office (GAO) investigated whether Taylor had a conflict of interest and or had engaged in ethical misconduct in the approval of rBGH...Taylor is also responsible for the FDA’s decision to treat genetically modified organisms as “substantially equivalent" to natural foods and therefore not require any safety studies. The “substantially equivalent” rule allowed the FDA to ignore evidence that genetically engineered foods, including soy, are in fact very different from natural foods and pose specific health risks. read more
Please sign the petition to let President Obama, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius know that Michael Taylor must resign, and Dennis Wolff should not be appointed.

Japanese dolphin slaughter

Here's a fun fact: the Japanese public is largely unaware that it's markets are filled with mercury-contaminated and highly-toxic dolphin meat marked as fish.

Because the Japanese government is forcefully trying to cover this issue, the film crew went to great and dangerous lengths--often using covert military tactics--to get this footage.

Check out the trailer for The Cove (now playing!)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

FRESH the movie

"Food is the foundation, but it's really about life"

While I love love loved Food Inc, from the trailer, Fresh seems a bit more impact- and community-oriented. I suppose more up-beat and inspiring, whereas it took Food Inc the whole movie to take that tone (I do not mean that critically. Food Inc focuses on harsh realities...). Check out Fresh.

Can't wait!

I would just love to have The Colonic film parties. Perhaps one day when my readership is higher. Now I'm getting really excited thinking about scrumptious wholesome hors d'oeuvres.

WORKERS AHEAD: the verdict is in

I recently launched a campaign against sexist roadside construction signs in Los Angeles, including ways to take action (there were a lot of mixed reviews on this topic).

I have to say, the bureaucratic process worked wonders this time around; I was contacted by the Women's Advocate of the City of Los Angeles Human Services Department, who looked into my concern.

The findings? The federal government went gender-neutral with signs in 1988 and the State of California in 1996. In short, "Men Working Ahead" signs are illegal and can be reported.

If you live in Los Angeles and see these signs on city construction sites, please report them to Seffy Wiles of the LA Bureau of Public Works at (213) 487-2408.