Category Archives: vegetarian

VegNews Magazine Using Stock Photos of Meat Dishes

This story is practically old news by now, and I had no intention of publicly weighing in on the matter, but for some reason, I am very bothered by this situation. So, here it is:

April 13th, 2011 – Blogger QuarryGirl received an email tip from a reader who realized that a photo on the VegNews website of a veggie burger was actually a picture of a real hamburger from istockphoto.com. Both he and QuarryGirl left multiple comments on the VegNews site notifying them of the “mistake,” all of which were immediately deleted. In fact, the reader was told that his “inappropriate and mean-spirited commenting has violated the  policy of VegNews,” and that VegNews moderators would continue to remove his comments. After further investigation, it appeared that this was a fairly common practice on the site, and that images were even doctored to remove any meaty elements, such as the bones in the picture of spare ribs below (courtesy of QuarryGirl):

Before

vegnews realribs RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues   

After

vegribs RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues

April 14th, 2011 – VegNews released a statement in which they neither apologized nor promised never to use stock photos again (not even non-vegan stock photos). The statement begins with, “The entire VegNews community is deeply saddened with the dialogue that has transpired over the last 12 hours.” Uhh…sorry? Wait…what? Are we supposed to be apologizing to them?

It continues with a sort-of sob story about how expensive it is to publish a magazine and trying to compete with mainstream mags and nobody was vegan eleven years ago, oh-my-god-how-sad. Oh, and they won some awards from Oprah and Martha Stewart in the process! And basically, they couldn’t have done all of this without using stock photos. Hey, that’s just “industry standard.”

It’s not like I have a problem with using stock photos, in general, but it seems pretty obvious that a vegan audience isn’t going to be to happy when they find out that they’re actually looking at a picture of chicken breast soup and not seitan stew. I think VegNews knew that, too, or they wouldn’t have kept it secret. Usually, if you feel like you have to hide something, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. Another thing that I’ve been wondering about is whether or not these photos, which are supposed to correspond with a specific recipe in the magazine, even look anything like the actual dish. I mean, when I make meals from my favorite vegan cookbooks and sites, like Vegan Dad, the dish I prepare actually turns out looking something like the picture posted on the site.

Which brings me to another point: there are many vegan food bloggers who take their own mouth-watering pictures to go along with the recipes they’ve created. If they can do it without making any money from what they post, it can’t be that difficult to get a decent point-and-shoot and some white plates and snap a picture of the actual dish. There’s no one on the VegNews staff with even a bit of cooking or photography experience who would be willing to make the dish at home and take a picture of it? Even if no one at VegNews could cook or take pictures of food, which would be really strange since that’s such a major focus of the magazine, I would rather go without a picture than see a picture of a dish made of meat that probably looks nothing like the actual creation. Seriously, you don’t need a picture of every dish. Most cookbooks don’t even have pictures for all of their recipes. Same goes for Vegetarian Times, another popular veg mag.   

Is anyone with me on this? Because I was shocked at how many bloggers and commenters defended VegNews’ actions. I first saw the story on Vegansaurus, but I wasn’t terribly surprised with their wishy-washy response because one of their writers also works for VegNews. Pretty apparent conflict of interests, although they don’t seem to think that it’s clouding their judgement. A lot of people think this is akin to airbrushing images of models and celebrities, but I don’t agree. I feel like most people who like to spend their time looking at  celebrities actually WANT to see them airbrushed and made up and wouldn’t like what they saw if the person wasn’t wearing any make-up. In short, people want to be fooled when they see that celebrity, and they allow it to happen. And anyway, when you look at a doctored picture of Jennifer Lopez, you still recognize her as Jennifer Lopez. As someone who loves to cook, yes, I love to see pictures of beautiful food, but it’s just as important to me that the picture is an accurate portrayal of the dish that I am so excited to make. If you have to sacrifice a little bit of the “beauty” to do that, which I don’t see why you would unless the food is just ugly to begin with and then you shouldn’t photograph it at all, then do it.

As a final note, a lot of people are also saying that this issue is distracting from the important matters; that is, animal cruelty, political issues that affect animal matters, etc. Maybe so, but is that the fault of the vegan public or the perpetrator? People were probably assuming they could hold VegNews to a higher standard and wouldn’t have to police a company with ethics as its main focus. To be sure, they are not the first ethics-touting company to screw up, and they are certainly not the last, but I think we have the right to be disappointed that we can’t even rely on people who supposedly share our values to represent us in the way that we would like to be represented.

More takes on the matter:
QuarryGirl
Vegansaurus
The Discerning Brute
This Dish is Veg

The Best Vegan… CUPCAKES!!!!

So Natalie threw this article in my lap today. It’s about some babe who goes by the name of Chloe Coscarelli. And that’s not all!!! It’s also about VEGAN CUPCAKES!!!

So… basically… Chloe went head to head with three of “the country’s top bakers” in the MOST ULTIMATE CUPCAKE CHALLENGE EVER! All three of these “top” bakers decided to be boring and make tried and true, traditional SNOOZEVILLE cupcakes, but our brave hero, Chloe, made all vegan cupcakes. AND DESTROYED THE COMPETITION! According to one judge, “[The cupcakes] were delicious. It was everything we were looking for in a cupcake.” So there.

Here’s the best part… Chloe posted the recipes to some of these award winning desserts (as well as other mouthwatering delights) on her blog. For example…


Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcakes


Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Maybe I will try to make these soon. I’ll make sure to let you all know how they turn out.

scott

Vegan/Vitamin Study

There is an interesting article on BBC regarding a study that Dr. Lindsay Allen of the governmental agency, U.S. Agricultural Research Service (ARS), co-conducted. The study consisted of testing 500 malnourished African children’s diets (using one control group and three variable groups) to come to the conclusion that a vegan lifestyle is “unethical” (her words; not mine). Aside from the study being completely unethical, which I will go back to, there are other things that I find very wrong with this study:

  1. From the quotations in the BBC article, Dr. Allen appears to over exaggerate her findings, leading me to think that she is a biased scientist. Her strongly worded quotation, “There’s absolutely no question that it’s unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans” is somewhat contradictory and unfounded when later the BBC article states, “She accepted that adults could avoid animal foods if they took the right supplements…” What Dr. Allen appears to be doing is confusing her opinion that a non-vegan lifestyle is ethical for children and the fact that adults can safely maintain a vegan lifestyle with the right supplements.
  2. The study was partially funded by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association.
  3. Okay, going back to the unethical. So, there is no doubt that the 500 children in the study are malnourished; the BBC article blatantly states this, “This meant they were already malnourished.” Instead of treating the children like lab specimens and not people, the right thing to do would be to refer the problem to either a non-profit or governmental agency that deals with world hunger issues.
  4. This study is extremely exploitive of African children and world hunger. If there were 500 malnourished American children, this study would not have been conducted.

I’m trying to think of a way that this is not exploitive and I see from the abstract that Dr. Allen and her team were researching vitamin B-12 deficiencies, which is stated as a growing, global health concern. So, I try to rationalize that maybe these children were only malnourished of vitamin B-12 and, otherwise, led a completely healthy life, but the BBC article states that their diet consisted of “low-nutrition corn and bean staples.” Hmm…

ARS abstract

Dr. Allen’s ARS profile

– Allison AKA ninjagarden

related posts:

The Urgency Tour, Days 4/5/6

DAY 4

WICHITA, KS

DAY OFF (9/9/2008)

Today was a day off, and the Vertical Violet folks were nice enough to let us stay with them in Wichita. Waffles were waiting for us in the morning. These people are awesome. Breck, the dad, showed us his awesome record collection and told us how The Smiths got him into industrial (?). Spent most of the afternoon playing Risk….my first game ever. I was eliminating third out of five players, which apparently is decent. George and Cecil got into a pissing contest (not, unfortunately, literally) over the game; George took him, and everyone else, out. After a delicious chili dinner (during which we quizzed Freya the Fairy on various aspects of fairy life) , we spent the rest of the night hanging out, playing Boggle and Aladdin for the Genesis with Freya the Fairy, and petting kitties in the backyard. It’s disgraceful, the hedonism we get up to….

DAY 5

TULSA, OK

The Soundpony (9/10/2008)

Left the VV house, after another great breakfast. We would miss this place, even more so after tonight. We made our way over to Tulsa. I finished Xavier, Season 1. Tulsa reminded me of Des Moines. We ate at an amazing Chinese Thai restaurant Mandy found online called Be Le. All sorts of yummy fake meats. The show was at the bar called Soundpony, which was decorated with various cycling paraphanelia. Free hot dogs and High Life (no veggie dogs, booo….). A lady opened for us, just her and her box full of pedals. Pretty good, I bought her CD for $5. Then we played. During the first song, my eyes were closed. When I opened them, the bar was 97 % cleared out. Oops! We proceeded to play the entirety of our album to the bartender and two middle-aged drunks taking pictures of themselves. Admittedly, it was not a good room for live rock music: all concrete, leading to a very bright, loud sound. We sounded really good, at least. Annoyed, we decided to head on after the show to Springfield, MO. During the drive, we came across a strange building in the middle of nowhere that flashed psychedelic colors. Cecil wanted to stop and sleep there. I said that there was no way we could get in, but that we could go back and sleep by it if he really, really wanted to BUT if he didn’t go now, he couldn’t complain about it later. He said we could keep going. He complained about it later.

SETLIST

The album.

DAY 6

SPRINGFIELD, MO

Outland Ballroom, 9/11/2008)

Rolled into Springfield around 4 A.M. Pulled into a church parking lot and uncomfortably went to sleep. Was awoken a few hours later by the flashing lights of two police cars parked behind us. We were afraid we’d get towed or treated to some “southern hospitality”, but they soon left. Went back to unrestful sleep. Woke up soon after, and wandered around downtown. Went to a coffeeshop. Wandered some more. BORED. Found a nearby cave that you are driven around in, but it cost $20 +. WTF. Found local art museum (which was free) instead. It was ok. Spent several hours at 1984, an awesome arcade with games from the late 70s through early 90s. Really, really fun. Scott set a new Burger Time record. I dedicated a song to it that night. I played Golden Axe, P.O.W. and Space Invaders, mostly. Scott gave the free pass he won for getting the high score to our waitress as part of her tip. The first two bands who played with us, New Madrid and The Verbs, were good and had a crowd. We, of course, cleared the room but of a few people. Do I sense a theme? Andrew from New Madrid let us crash at his place. Really cool guy. We were incredibly sleepy though, and could offer only mumbling in reply.

SETLIST

don’t remember.

G.

 

miloprometheus

The Urgency Tour: Days 0-2

DAY 0

Des Moines, IA

(Vaudeville Mews,9/5/08)

Today was our CD release show for our first album, A Sense Of Urgency. Two shows, an early all-ages and a late 21 +. Support for the early show came from Adam Robert Haug and The Poison Control Center, while Ross Moffat and Maxilla Blue played with us at the second. For these two shows, we played the entire album. It was kind of a “listen before you buy” thing. All and all, we all think it was a great success. Thanks to everyone who came out, whether it was to see us, one of the other bands or both. We greatly, greatly appreciate it and it got our tour off to a good start.

SET:

1.) Rabble Rouse
2.) A Sense Of Urgency
3.) Girl Friday
4.) Lovely To Someone
5.) Vulgarity Drifting Diary
6.) Maggie
7.) Every Day, An Elegy
8.) While We’re Young (Sing Me Something New)
9.) You Are My Megalodon
10.) If The Mood Should Strike…

DAY 1

Omaha, NE

(Hotel Frank – East Wing, 9/6/08)
The real first day of the tour, though going to Omaha was downright leisurely compared to some of our other first-tour-date drives. Wanted to leave at 2, ended up leaving around 6:30. This is pretty typical. Spent short Omaha drive getting acquianted with Guitar Hero: On Tour for DS (Verdict: pretty fun, but don’t play for more than 15 minutes at a time or you’ll get carpal tunnel) and watching the first three episodes of Xavier: Renegade Angel, an Adult Swim show created by the guys who did Wonder Showzen. Even though I’ve lost touch/become disenchanted with Adult Swim’s penchant for randomness for randomness’ sake, I liked Wonder Showzen a lot and this was in the same vein. So funny, basically. We were supposed to play at another venue in town for this date but that fell through, so Adam was nice enough to let us play at his house, The Hotel Frank. It’s basically two large, old houses connected by a thruway where apparently, under various different names, it’s hosted tons of shows throughout the years. This show was played in the east wing of the house in a living room with Adam and a band called Honeybee. Honeybee was pretty good, they’re suited for this kind of show. I don’t think we are, though. It was ok, but I felt a bit awkward stripped down and I’m not sure if the kids took to us much. Oh well. Adam was really fun, as always. After the show, most of the crowd went on to another house show. I’m lame though, so I went to sleep instead. Oops!

SET:

1.) Girl Friday
2.) Lovely To Someone
3.) Vulgarity Drifting Diary
4.) Belgian Congo
5.) Every Day, An Elegy
6.) You Are My Megalodon


DAY 2

Lincoln, NE

(Box Awesome, 9/7/08)
Woke up, played with cats aroud the house. We went a couple houses down to McFoster’s, an awesome natural foods restaurant. I got the Mexican omlette with pineapple papaya salsa. Excellent. Afterwards, we made the rounds to the local record shops in an attempt to get our album stocked. Succeeding in stocking one; have to call the other ones to make special arrangements. The one that let us put records in, The Antiquarium, had a “Box of Jandek” on the counter though, tons of assorted Jandek albums for $6. Weird. Bought some windshield wipers!!! Picked up Adam from the Hotel Frank and headed out for tonight’s show in Lincoln. After getting stupidly lost, finally found the venue, Box Awesome. Tonight we played with an interesting instrumental act named Mwumbles and Adam again, marking the end of the brief BP/ARH tour. Darren Keen, who basically is The Show Is The Rainbow, was supposed to play with us, but didn’t show. After we played our set to virtually no one, we had to clear the stage for the late show, some reggae nerd named Jah Roots. As we were loading up, Darren came up and apologized. He had thought it was a late show, and was watching an episode of The Shield when he realized. Oops! But he was a nice guy, honest mistake. It was only as we were leaving that Adam mentioned that Darren is the bass player in a band on Saddle Creek called Beep Beep. Mandy and I both think Beep Beep is awesome, so I would have liked to ask him about their new album and stuff. Oh well, maybe next time. This show was also notable as George, Scott’s uncle joined up with us. He’ll be coming along with us on the road until the 20th, or until he gets bored. Which will probably be tomorrow! Oh well, on to Wichita….

SET

1.) Lovely To Someone
2.) A Sense Of Urgency
3.) E As In X-Ray
4.) Belgian Congo
5.) Girl Friday
6.) You Are My Megalodon

G.

 

miloprometheus

Wow, I guess I’m voting for Obama (UGH)

I planned to vote for a 3rd party candidate in this election as I’m not wild about either nominee but McCain’s VP selection has pretty much convinced me to try to keep his ticket out of the White Haus, even though I semi-despise Barack “Change/Hope/repeat” Obama.

Mild reasons to vote against Silly Palin: zero foreign policy experience, no economic skills, pregnant teenage daughter (can’t even control things at home).

Serious reasons to vote against Palin: NRA member and hunting enthusiast, proponent of teaching CREATIONISM IN SCIENCE CLASS.

Holy shit.

PS – Preemptive address to Johnny B,

Yes, John, I know you or your father are probably NRA members and you might be offended.  If you recall from earlier posts I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment but the NRA is a sick, sick, fucking organization and clearly the most hypocritical lobbying organization in America.  Even PETA and Planned Parenthood look sane by comparison.  NRA claims to be a “single issue organization” which is their repeated excuse for not lobbying for true conservation.  Somehow I don’t see how the “single issue” of gun rights includes 1) constantly sticking up for cops even when they’re wrong, 2) lobbying on behalf of trapping practices that have nothing to do with firearms or, 3) as they did until recently, support the ownership of assault weapons.

PPS – Abortion: some people don’t like Palin because she doesn’t support abortions in any situation but I more or less agree with that.

And for you vegetarians out there that don’t eat meat for moral reasons, how do you defend being pro-choice (if you are, that is)?  Moral vegetarian + Pro-choice = hypocrite

Thank you.

 

kicknz

Meat issues: 1) Environment 2) Humanitarian 3) Media Bias

From my perspective, the three most annoyingly preachy people in the world are Christians, Muslims and vegetarians.  The one thing that vegetarians have that the others don’t is a HUGE AMOUNT OF DATA, FACTS, and the support of the United Nations. 

WHY DO YOU DO ‘ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE’ THINGS AND STILL EAT MEAT?

Being evironmentally responsible is really trendy in a very superficial way in our country.  Lots of people recycle, lots of people are changing modes of transportation, lots of people are monitoring their energy use but very few are avoiding the #1 most environmentally damaging industry in the entire world: meat production.  Many environmental scientific watchdog groups, like Worldwatch Institute, have known this for years but the United Nations finally studied the issue 2 years ago and came to the same conclusion: the best thing you can do for the environment is to not eat meat.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772&Cr=global&Cr1=environment

I love all the environmental issues related to domestic oil drilling, coming from people that probably eat meat.  The environmental hazards from drilling are absolutely miniscule compared to FACTS, according to the EPA, like: the meat industry pollutes more water in America than EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY COMBINED . . . or that cattle grazing causes 85% of all soil erosion in the United States.  In a few decades, when we’re having trouble growing domestic crops because of soil runoff, you can rest assured that it’s not at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico thanks to our beef diet.

The environmental ramifications are just gigantic.  Meat is the biggest contributor to global warming as it is the #1 biggest cause of deforestation.  It takes a lot of grain to feed all those KFC chickenz!

WHY DO YOU PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT POOR PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD AND STILL EAT MEAT?

This one is really simple and totally ignored.  There are hundreds of millions of starving people in the world, in spite of that we grow enough crops every year to feed the world many times over.  We raise enough crops to feed to COWS ALONE every year to feed the world’s human population.  But that’s just it, we’re wasting it unnecessarily on livestock.  It takes 16 lbs of grain and over 2000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat.  Every time you eat meat you are wasting 15 potential meals that could have benefited someone somewhere else in the world.

WOW, THERE REALLY IS A MEDIA BIAS!

The fact that these facts are out there and have been endorsed by the United Nations but still receive VERY little coverage in our news media is nothing short of an abomination.  People like Al Gore are celebrated for their semi-scientific movies that naturally completely ignore the BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE.  The media loves to give green tips and almost never mentions anything related to meat or even diet. 

Even groups like Sierra Club that love hunting acknowledge the damage of meat production.  There is a LOT of information on these issues out there.  But don’t look for it in our degenerate, Obama-loving, status quo-adoring news media.

kicknz