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So much for getting over here and posting each day during the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart…oops! Thankfully I’ve not had that problem staying vegan over the past 5 days. As I’ve said before, my diet was pretty much 95% vegan already, with the only non-vegan items in my diet being the dairy-related items in some items I loved, such as Morningstar veggie bacon and sausage (egg whites in them, although they DO have great vegan options). And I’d have to say that my core, my beliefs, what guides me, has been vegan for far more years than I’ve even been vegetarian (almost 17 years veggie) in regard to sharing my life and our world with our fellow sentient beings. I think most people who aren’t vegan, or veggie for that matter, don’t realize that being vegan isn’t JUST about a diet change, it’s about the choices we make with respect to our environment and those we share it with.

Easy Bean Dip and Oven-Baked Tortilla Chips, from 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, as well as a spinach salad with Trader Joe's Goddess dressing

While I haven’t followed the daily menu from PCRM for the Kickstart, I have been eating foods I either got from their menu last time (when I did the Kickstart in January), most of which are on this Kickstart, too, as well as eating whole wheat pastas, grains, and veggies that I learned to keep stocked in the pantry/fridge via January’s Kickstart. And each workday starts with steel-cut oatmeal with a banana, some almonds, and pure maple syrup or blue agave…YUM!

Here’s today’s message, and oddly enough today’s menu  is pretty much what I’d already been planning on having–especially the Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes, which were an INSTANT classic/fave for me when I first tried them in January. Love, love, LOVE them!

You’re almost a week into the Kickstart! You must be feeling the results of a cholesterol-free low-fat diet. See what today’s message has in store for you.

Ironman Triathlete Brendan Brazier shares his knowledge about diet and endurance.
What’s the deal with vitamin D?
Watch the Cancer Project’s “Veggie Hunter” public service announcement.
Learn about protein for athletes.
Today’s Menu:

  • Breakfast: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes and Facon Bacon
  • Lunch: Easy-Bean Dip with Oven-Baked Tortilla Chips and a side salad
  • Dinner: Easy Stir-Fry with Always Great Brown Rice
  • Dessert: Chocolate raspberry mousse

I’m trying to stick with my goal of posting each day of the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, but I’m sooooo pooped out tonight and just don’t have it in me to spend time and non-existent energy on a lengthy post.  I do have it in me to share with you a really yummy item I ran across while going through vegan cookbooks recently with my 7 year-old nephew. I’m pretty sure it was from Vegan Family Favorites: Tasty And Satisfying Recipes Even Your Kids Will Love, but not absolutely certain since we were looking through many cookbooks. It was for a vegan “honey” mustard and couldn’t have been simpler or tasted better. (Btw, if you’re new to veganism you might not realize that honey is NOT vegan. Read more here.)

I put all the ingredients in a Good Seasons cruet I have, shook it up good, then popped it in the fridge along with other condiments.  It’s great on my Tofurky sandwiches, tossed some on quinoa, and used it on my Boca burger tonight.  Gotta love a good quickie that packs such a punch. (Yes, you can read into that WHATEVER you’d like! ;))

PS So much for a quick blog…took about 30 minutes since I included a bunch of links.

It’s right around the corner, kiddos. Tomorrow begins twenty-one days of better health, tastier food, and surprising yourself with what you can create–I promise! The picture above is actually on your menu for tomorrow: Hoppin’ John Salad. Yup, I made it, uh-huh, you know it, and DARN if it wasn’t delicious! More on that after today’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart email (you can still sign up): Read the rest of this entry »

To start off, check out today’s video message to help you “get started” for your new adventure!

When I did the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart in January, I had wished for a more comprehensive list of food items to have in order to be prepared for the program.  They provide a list of ‘staples’ to stock up on, but quite honestly I didn’t find it very helpful or directly related to the first week of meals. They also don’t give you the next week’s menu until a couple days prior which is sort of short notice for those of us who need to plan our grocery shopping trips further ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s baaaaaaaack! Yes indeed, folks, the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart is making its third foray into the refrigerators and lifestyles of anyone interested in improving their health, helping our environment AND fellow sentient beings. As some of you may know, on April 11th I will have been a vegetarian for 17 years! For me it’s ALWAYS been an animal rights issue, and once I finally made the decision to become vegetarian I have not looked back or even ONCE missed being a meat-eater.  There are SO MANY delicious and healthy alternatives, never mind the fact I could never, ever, EVER again bite into something that had once been living. Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama’s weekly address hit upon one of the more troubling aspects of our government right now: the total failure of the FDA to keep us, our children, and our pets safe in the knowledge that what is consumed will not harm any of us.  He has named a new Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency, Dr. Margaret Hamburg (go ahead, giggle as I did at her last name being Hamburg(er)–I blame the cold meds I’m taking), and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein (nope, no food-related funny with his last name) as Principal Deputy Commissioner.  Obama is also creating a new Food Safety Working Group which ultimately sounds like it will be making sure that the left hand of government agencies involved with food safety know what the right hand is doing–what a concept!

And as an animal welfare advocate I am THRILLED with the short, but oh-so-important sentence President Obama stated, “As part of our commitment to public health, our Agriculture Department is closing a loophole in the system to ensure that diseased cows don’t find their way into the food supply.”  Please read Wayne Pacelle’s email sent out this afternoon in response to this fantastic decision.  Thank you President Obama, and thank you to everyone who helped put an end to the horribly abusive downer cattle issue!

Great news from President Obama on farm animals

March 14, 2009


Our investigation thrust a global spotlight on abuse of downed cows.

Dear ******,

It’s been a long fight, and today, we closed another chapter on it. Since the mid-1990s, The HSUS has been working hard to stop as a matter of public policy the abuse of downer cattle — animals too sick or injured to walk. And today, President Obama himself announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was officially putting a stop to non-ambulatory cattle being mishandled in order to get them into slaughter plants. He made the announcement along with two top selections for the Food and Drug Administration and a series of other statements about food safety.

I invite you to read my blog post for today about the food safety crises and horrifying investigations that led up to today’s announcement.

The length of time we had to persist and what our investigations revealed are sad, but today I celebrate this news. And I hope that it is a harbinger of a far more serious attitude toward food safety and animal welfare from the new Administration. I am personally looking forward to working with Secretary Vilsack — a man of great integrity — on a wide range of issues. And I express my gratitude to him and his team today for his decisive action.

Many of you joined us in demanding change on this issue, so this is your victory as well as the animals’. Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. Did you know you can easily subscribe to receive my blog daily by email or RSS? Look for the links to subscribe on the right side of my blog, www.waynepacelle.org. I write daily about pressing issues like farm animal abuse, so it’s a great way to stay in touch.

panos-brands

Many of you know I’m vegetarian, so news regarding vegetarian and vegan fare is important to me, hence the need to post this recall of a PANOS brands product, for my vegan friends (and those with milk protein issues) out there.  I guess reading those labels doesn’t always work, eh?

PANOS Brands Recalls Vegan Rella Cheddar Block

Contact:
Kathie Gibbs Borkowski
(201) 843-8900 x 425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –Saddle Brook, NJ — November 20, 2008 — PANOS brands, of Saddle Brook, NJ is recalling Vegan Rella Cheddar Block, (a cheese substitute) with a Sell by date of 12/09/2008. This product is being recalled because it may possibly contain an undeclared milk protein. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk protein run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. No other lot or variety of Vegan is involved.

The product was sold directly to the consumers from their retail stores located nationwide.

The recalled product is packed in 8oz packages with UPC Code 0 37983 00015 4 and a sell by date of 12/09/2008.

There was one reported incident of an allergic reaction associated with the consumption of the product. The product is manufactured by Swan Gardens/Tree of Life, Austell, GA. This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may call (800) 494-8839 ext. 425

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Received this from the FDA on 9/19/07 regarding raw diet pet manufacturer Bravo! recalling three of its pet food products:

Recall — Firm Press Release
FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company. This listserv covers mainly Class I (life-threatening) recalls. A complete listing of recalls can be found in the FDA Enforcement Report at: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/Enforce.html

Bravo! Issues Nationwide Recall of Select Poultry Products for Dogs and Cats

Contact:
David Bogner
(866) 922-9222

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –Vernon, CT — Sept. 18, 2007— Bravo! announces a voluntary recall of select tubes of three of its poultry products for cats and dogs. The pet food is being recalled because two of the products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, while the other product has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Both Salmonella and Listeria are organisms which can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, and if there is cross contamination, in people, especially small children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people with Salmonella infection may only suffer short-term symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Long term complications can include arthritis and other more serious ailments. Healthy people with Listeria infection may only suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with any of the three products.

The recalled products are distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet sales and directly to consumers, and they can be identified by the batch ID code located on the hang tag attached to the bottom of the plastic film tubes. The recalled products should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners should return unopened frozen tubes of food to the store where purchased for a full refund. Pet owners should dispose of opened tubes of product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle) and return the washed plastic batch ID tag to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Recalled Pet Food

Product: Bravo Original Formula Chicken Blend frozen raw food
Product Numbers: 21-102, 21-105, 21-110
Sizes: 2 pound, 5 pound and 10 pound tubes
Batch ID code (on hang tag): 236
Reason for Recall: Salmonella, Listeria

Product: Bravo Original Formula Turkey Blend frozen raw food
Product Numbers: 31-102, 31-105, 31-110
Sizes: 2 pound, 5 pound and 10 pound tubes
Batch ID code (on hang tag): 236
Reason for Recall: Listeria

Product: Bravo Basic Formula Finely Ground Chicken frozen raw food
Product Number: 21-212
Size: 2 pound tube
Batch ID Code (on hang tag): 226
Reason for Recall: Salmonella, Listeria

Other Batch IDs for these same products are not involved in the recall.

Bravo! is issuing this action out of an abundance of caution and sincerely regrets any inconvenience to pet owners as a result of this announcement. This voluntary recall has been issued because the FDA detected the bacteria in samples during a recent review.

In an effort to prevent the transmission of Salmonella from pets to family members and care givers, the FDA recommends that everyone follow appropriate pet food handling guidelines when feeding their pets. A list of safe pet food handling tips can be found at:
http://www.fda.gov/cvm/CVM_Updates/foodbornetips.htm.

People may risk Salmonella infection not only by handling these pet foods, but also by contact with pets or other surfaces exposed to these foods, so it is important that they thoroughly wash their hands with hot water and soap. Anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella or Listeria infection after having handled the recalled product should seek medical attention. Consumers may report any complaints to FDA’s local District Complaint Coordinator’s located on the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html.

Healthy cats and dogs rarely become sick from Salmonella. Animals ill with Salmonella will display symptoms similar to the ones listed above for humans. People who have concerns about whether their pet has Salmonella or not should contact their veterinarian.

For more information on the Bravo recall, please visit www.bravorawdiet.com, or call toll free (866) 922-9222

#

FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts Page: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html

Yesterday I received information (copied below) on quite possibly ANOTHER harmful product manufactured in China. When I tried to verify the information I found no solid news stories on the subject. That would normally keep me from posting something in this public venue, but as we’ve all seen over the past seven months of pet-related recalls, there have been several times when vital recall information has been withheld from the public (Wal-Mart pulls chicken jerky dog treats produced in China) which has ultimately resulted in the sickness and/or death of beloved pets. If there is ANY chance that Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats ARE causing health issues for our pets, then the information needs to get out ASAP. We can’t wait for big business and governments to take their own sweet time testing products first if there is ANY evidence out there that problems might exist.

As I said, I have not found any conclusive information as to the validity of this bulletin, other than seeing the same information posted around the internet on various animal-related sites. Ultimately it’s up to each pet owner to decide what is valid and what is not, faced with as much information as possible. Truth be told, if I was faced with the same situation as Bella’s owner, where my pet suddenly became ill after ingesting a product from a country with as many health/safety issues as we have been seeing from China, I would be doing the same thing and trying as hard as I could to plaster the information in as many venues as possible.

There IS always a chance this story is not true, but honestly I can’t imagine why anyone (other than someone with an ax to grind with Smokehouse) would go to such lengths. If the story proves to be false, I would much rather have erred on the side of any pet’s safety than to withold information just because the mainstream media and/or our government or big business has not relayed the facts to us. Hopefully we will soon hear from some legitimate agency, or from the company that owns Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats, as to the validity of the claims against the product. In the meantime, buyer beware–again! (***Added 9/13/07 at 1PM PST: Blog reader, Buck, posted a comment below which includes an AVMA press release [release was updated by AVMA on 9/14/07] which would lead one to believe the Smokehouse issue is valid–thanks, Buck!***)

Here is the body of the bulletin I received yesterday, minus the city in New York of the PetSmart location mentioned:

PLEASE READ AND SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE WHO HAS DOGS, ESPECIALLY SMALL DOGS

New York:

Bella, 3 years old, 4 pounds

Product – Smoke House Chicken Breast Tenders Treats

Bella became suddenly ill ,and now hospitalized with her life threatened due to Smoke House Chicken Tenders. I recently purchased at Pet Smart.

It doesn’t matter where you purchase them, just don’t purchase them.

This was the first time I bought the Smoke House treats. Having read the label, it was listed as all natural, no additives, dyes etc. The treats were purchased on or about August 17. She loved them and I was happy because she typically only likes one treat. By August 23 she vomited bile, and again on August 24. Her personality began to change becoming lethargic, wanting to stay in her bed, loss of appetite. excessive drinking, urinating frequently in excessive amounts. urine became orange like in color. By August 28 she was severely dehydrated and lost one of her three pounds.

Sugar was found in her urine which would typically indicate diabetes. Bella was put on IV and given an antibiotic to take while tests were being done over Labor Day weekend.

Test results showed “irregularity in the lower part of her kidney. Possibly a hole in the kidney because of the malfunction.

By today Sept 7, she was no better and very low on energy and interest in being around anyone. I brought the package of Smoke House Chicken Tenders with me to the vet because it was the only thing that was different in her diet.

My wonderful vet, a graduate of Cornell University searched the Cornell Veterinarian site where veterinarians report unusual cases which are tracked. The search was done by symptoms. A second search by chicken treats.

There were numerous cases on the Cornell University Veterinarian web site, all with the same symptoms, test results and yes, related to chicken tender treats made in China. Never did it cross my mind that this product was made in China. When Dr. didn’t find complete listing of ingredients on the package he called the number listed on the back of the package identifying himself and asked for ingredients to help understand what was happening to my pet. The only thing the person on the phone with a strong Chinese accent was “all natural, all natural”. Sure enough looking at the small print on the bottom back of the package is “product of China”, the same source of other products that have been killing our pets. I sat beside my vet and read along with him.

Following are primary repeated findings;

-severe damage to the kidney often resulting in complete renal failure and death -numerous reports in the past four to five weeks, a larger number on the East Coast

– chicken and beef treats promoted as all natural -it does not matter what the label is, if it is a product of China -if caught early enough, hospitalized on IV hydrating and flushing the kidney over days with nutrients may help the kidney heal itself and the pet could then live with the damaged kidney -if not caught early complete renal failure is expected -most cases reported are related to small dogs -initial symptoms indicate diabetes -mold is often found when flushing the kidney (found in Bella)

I have been in touch with Pet Smart requesting them to help get the ingredients. Time is lost analyzing the food. Today a vet at Cornell purchased a bag after reading the report my Vet posted on Bella. He then contacted my vet to say the bag he bought had mold in it despite an expiration date one year from now. I was asked to look closely at whatever was left in my bag, but saw none.

After Bella was admitted to the vet I went directly to Pet Smart in ****** NY, told the Manager what happened and asked her to assist getting the ingredients identified. I was met with a hostile attitude. She was only interested in getting my name because she felt I was going to file a complaint. The person at PS headquarters responsible for knowing food ingredients at Pet Smart headquarters is trying to help.

The information available to vets on the Cornell web site is not public information. No one seems to be aware of this. Dogs are misdiagnosed

PLEASE SEND THIS ON TO YOUR PET LOVING FRIENDS AND SAVE A PET AND LOTS OF HEARTACHE.

PLEASE POST THIS INFORMATION ON ANY WEB SITE YOU CAN CONCERNING PETS.

Sniffin’ out the info

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