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Helen Bennett Harvey promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Vegging Out is a recipe for a new way of life. Or at least a new way of eating. Pull up a chair. Contact me at:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Something to get crabby about

I’d say it’s a damn good reason for a lot of crabs to be very crabby. Ah, but the little crustaceans never will have the chance to get crabby over this issue, because seconds after they find out about it they will be dead.
The issue?
A new study shows that crabs feel pain.
But for all those people who were consoling themselves with the idea that there was no suffering involved in their favorite dish made from a sea creature with an exo-skeleton, there’s no excuse now.
According to a story posted on, “Not only do crabs suffer pain, a new study found, but they retain a memory of it...The scientists say its time for new laws to consider the suffering of all crustaceans.”
That means that boiling pot of water really does smart like heck when a living creature is tossed into it.
This should be food for thought for all the people dreaming of their next crab Rangoon or Cajun casserole.
What hurts me is that I fear it will not.
For more, see:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Put down that hot dog!

I hate to say I told you so. Heck, no I don't, so I told you so.
A new study, the results of which are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, concludes that, "red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality." meat and bologna not so good for you...might even kill you, albeit slowly. Even if you don't think factory farming is an abomination, (and it mostly is, I believe) these results are something to chew on.

Read the results here

Monday, March 23, 2009

Every day can be meatout day

How did you do on Great American Meatout Day?
What? It came and went with no fanfare in your household? The bacon still fried and the chicken was still marsala-ed?
March 20 really was Great American Meatout Day (and the 25th such event) but I do realize that there probably were not a lot of new converts to the vegetarian lifestyle. The day asked everyone to "kick the meat habit” on the first day of spring and “explore a wholesome, nonviolent diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains," its Web site says.
That was not so tough for me, though I am fonder of vegetables than I am of fruit.
But try as I might, I could not find any statistics to tell me how many people participated in the meat-free day, or even in any events that organizers across nation held.
Yet, while March 20 has come and gone, and with it the official meatout day, that does not mean that everyone can’t try to give up meat on any given day.
For health and for the planet, it’s worth a try.
As the meatout organizers say: Change your diet, change the world.
For more, visit here

P.S. Everyone, since I wrote this blog, great news: Michael A. Weber, outreach coordinator for Farm Animal Rights Movement, was kind enought to point out that the Meatout database has more than 700 registered events in 50 states and almost 30 countries. He said they also have a Meatout report showing that hundreds of unregistered events also occurred and that it looks like "all in all there were over 1,000 events." GO Meatout!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The truth hurts

I always think honesty is the best policy.
That is a self evident statement as I am a long time journalist and no matter what anyone with a negative attitude about the news says, you don’t get far and you don’t last in this field without being honest.
But I am going to go out a limb a little here and take my hat off to a man who is not quite honest. He won’t even tell people what his real name is.
But “Pete,” according to a story here: timestory does claim to be truthful about what he sees when he goes undercover at certain farming operations around the country.
To give you an idea, here’s a quote from the story.
“On an egg farm, it's very, very normal to see live hens thrown in the trash. If you spin them around to break their necks like they tell you to, that doesn't always cause cervical dislocation. So they just kind of throw them away live in the trash. You'll always come across birds that are barely breathing, missing all their feathers, all bloody in the trash. You never get completely desensitized to that.”
Now, that’s enough to make anyone lose their brunch.
I won’t pretend that I don’t eat eggs – I have said many times on this blog that I have not been able to become a vegan. And while I do buy only cage free eggs, I also won’t pretend that that lets me off responsibility when it comes to how chickens are mistreated in many agricultural operations in this nation. But it is a step in the right direction.
It’s a direction that people like Pete have helped us take.
The real shame here is not only that “Pete” can’t be honest about who he is when does his work. The real shame is that Pete has to do this work at all.

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's better than bacteria?

I think I am addicted.
To yogurt.
Is this possible? Can we get bitten by the bacteria bug? I think so, as I crave yogurt these days even more than I do chocolate.
This might sound perplexing as chocolate is definitely one of nature’s perfect foods, especially the kind that come with very little milk or sugar in it and without the labor of children forced to picks the beans.
Ah, but I must not digress – the topic here is yogurt and I now hereby swear by the stuff. I had grown away from yogurt for a time, both because I tend to be sensitive to milk products and because I had been trying to wean myself from using any animal-based products.
It was not a good idea for me to stray.
Then, some weeks ago, when I had had a stretch of not feeling so hot – nothing specific, just a general blah feeling and some intermittent nausea and upset stomach. Around the same time, I picked up one of the numerous “health” magazines that float around my gym and spotted a short piece on the benefits of making sure your digestive tract has a good quantity of the right kind of bacteria floating (or whatever it is those little one-celled friends of ours do) in your intestinal tract.
It worked. I do not pretend to have any knowledge of the real (medical) reason that yogurt and its active cultures and probiotics make our bodies happy, but for me it does.
I felt better within days.
Yogurt, I will never leave you again. I now even dabble sometimes with your cousin, kefir. (cultured milk)
While I am now eating yogurt made from low fat milk at least once a day, it does also come in a soy based formula that would be appropriate for vegans. Either way, it tastes yummy and all that bacteria make it even better.