Why Everyone Should Be Angry About Factory Farming ~ Anajali Sareen, Huff-Po

Often times I am asked, why vegan?  This is a tricky question because most people don’t want to know about the dark side of agriculture, especially Big Aggra.  Most people don’t want to hear about the systemic abuse of cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys.  More often than not, if I even hint about this topic, I get the hand followed by, “I don’t want know?”  Not wanting to completely scare people off, I’ll down shift into the health benefits of a vegan diet. It would seem, more people care about the health benefits than the the fact they would be sparing lives that is to say, the lives of animals.

I work in an office and find it incredibly amusing when someone will bring in doughnuts from some artisan  shop located in one of our urban-artsy, slightly left-of-center-neighborhoods and my office mates will throw up their arms in protest complaining about the evils of doughnuts.   Really? Let me get this straight, you’ll eat so-called “organic free-range” egg (when nothing could be further from the truth) from an abused hen.  You’ll eat veal, which is an abused, neglected, male dairy calf (and byproduct of the dairy industry). You will eat hamburger which is ground-up “spent” dairy cows but you won’t eat a doughnut?  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, “Organic” “Free-Range” “Grass-Fed” DOES NOT MEAN THESE ANIMALS LIVED A HAPPY LIFE BEFORE BEING SENT TO SLAUGHTER! Do your own research. There are many many sources that reveal this labeling is nothing more than that, labeling to dupe you the unsuspecting all trusting consumer into believing the milk you are drinking came from a happy cow, who frolicked in the California sun when in reality, that animal never set foot outside (except for when it was sent to slaughter) and was never allowed to bond or raise her young which is stolen from her so you can pour milk or cream in your coffee, milk on your cereal, eat cheese, yogurt and lastly,  ice cream.

My feeling is simply this: EAT THE DOUGHNUT. You clearly do not care about your health if you’re consuming dairy, organic or otherwise, bacon, eggs, chicken and ground up cows. All of these animals are exploited, and none of them lived a good life before being slaughtered.

People say they don’t want to know or care. Well you know what, you should know and you should care because vegan or not, you’re eating this stuff and you’re feeding it to your kids. If you think the Ag-Gag laws are nothing more than a means to shut up us crazy “terrorist” animal rights activists, think again.  Those laws will prevent ANYONE from looking under the hood. It also means, the inmates will be running the asylum, you know, self-regulating? Do you want the factory farm industry to self-regulate? Really? Fine. Go ahead, turn a deaf ear to the Ag-Gag laws and when and if you, your child or someone closed to you becomes sick from *e-Coli, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

If you don’t believe me, check out this article by Anajali Sareen of Huff-Po. Perhaps she can convince why you should care.

Here is an excerpt:

One thing we should all be able to agree upon, however, is that factory farming isn’t good for anyone. Large-scale, industrialized animal agriculture is bad for the animalsbad for us and bad for the environment. It wreaks havoc upon worker wellness and human health and is inefficient from a world hunger perspective.

The animal agriculture industry is attempting to push bills across the nation that would make it harder for citizens to see what takes place inside factory farms. Once we’re no longer able to see inside these farms, it will be that much more difficult to change our broken system.

With our food system the way it currently is, there are many reasons to be angry about industrialized animal agriculture.

If you eating animals with nary a care for how they lived (and died) then clearly you do. not. care. So like I said,  eat the doughnut and don’t forget to chase it with a glass of milk.

Rant over.


-GAL 2013

“Aushwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re ONLY animals.”  ~Theodor W. Adorno


*Whole Foods sold fish so toxic in mercury that one customer’s blood levels had to be reported to the Center for Disease Control. (17)  Whole Foods didn’t start identifying potentially mercury-laden fish in its California stores until the government forced them to do so.  Even then, a quarter of Whole Foods stores failed to display proper signage as required by law. (18) 

In 2008, five people had to be hospitalized after eating E.coli-contaminated beef from Whole Foods.  The beef was sold even after it was supposed to have been recalled. (22)  Others were sickened by bad milk from Whole Foods, resulting in “hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses…. One victim, a twenty-eight year old mother, will likely require a kidney transplant.”SOURCE

Whole Foods is Lying to Us!

Here is an excerpt to an article I read by Michael Blue Jay that I discovered when I read this post by gettingonmysoapbox.


(7) Refusal to carry only turtle-safe shrimp. When Earth Island Institute asked Whole Foods to carry only shrimp caught in nets certified to protect endangered sea turtles, Whole Foods flatly refused. (1)

(8) Selling “organic” food that possibly isn’t.  Much of WF’s private-label frozen fruits and vegetables come from China, where organics are completely unregulated.  This means no government (theirs or ours) checks to make sure that the farms are actually using organic methods.  It’s a huge leap of faith to think that suppliers on the other side of the world are truly supplying organics when they know that know one is checking up on them, especially when China has had such a long list of manufacturing controversies about contaminated products.  To top it off, Whole Foods uses the “USDA Organic” seal even though the USDA isn’t actually verifying that the food is really organic, and they use product names like “California Blend”, when the California Blend was really made in China. (21)  And even for domestic food, Whole Foods has been caught selling produce as organic that is anything but. (25)

(9) Selling dangerous food. You might think that with a company that champions healthy eating, anything in their store would be safe to eat.  You’d be wrong.  Whole Foods sold fish so toxic in mercury that one customer’s blood levels had to be reported to the Center for Disease Control. (17)  Whole Foods didn’t start identifying potentially mercury-laden fish in its California stores until the government forced them to do so.  Even then, a quarter of Whole Foods stores failed to display proper signage as required by law. (18)

In 2008, five people had to be hospitalized after eating E.coli-contaminated beef from Whole Foods.  The beef was sold even after it was supposed to have been recalled. (22)  Others were sickened by bad milk from Whole Foods, resulting in “hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses…. One victim, a twenty-eight year old mother, will likely require a kidney transplant.” (23)

And when Whole Foods opened its store in Napa, it got an “F” on the county’s health inspection. (24)

Source to full article

Last Year, Californians Voted Against Prop 37 (Labeling Genetically Modified Foods – GMOs).

50 other countries REQUIRE GMO labeling!


I align myself politically with Bill Maher.  People who know me, already know this about me (sorry if this offends you the reader). After every episode, Bill Maher likes to end his show with “New Rules”.  Well, this particular rant from Real Time with Bill Maher Episode 273 New Rules really resonated with me because I believe he is right, most people do not want to know where their food comes from.

“The food supply is not what it appears to be.” ~ Bill Maher 

This video is a good laugh, if you have a taste [no pun] for Bill Maher.


BTW, I shared this You Tube clip with two of my vegan co-workers Thomas and Greg.  Thomas responded back with a very good point. He said,

I think it’s silly how everyone gets so worked up about horsemeat.  Fundamentally, how is it any different than eating cows?  Same with dogs and cats.  How are they any different than pigs?

Thomas went on to say,

And the real story about Chilean Sea Bass is even more interesting than his joke.  It’s originally called “Patagonian Toothfish,” a grotesque looking fish caught through the incredibly destructive method of “trawling” which basically tears up the ocean floor and brings up tons of crap all at once so they can pick out the Toothfish and throw everything else overboard.  It’s called “Chilean Sea Bass” specifically to make it appealing to Americans who have bought into this hook, line, and sinker (no pun intended.)  Even if you’re not vegetarian and love to eat fish, you should avoid this one, it is easily one of the least ethical choices on any menu.  (Notice all the “bycatch” in the photo.)



If you watched the Bill Maher video clip you now know that most of the flesh you enjoy eating isn’t what it appears to be. So Let me ask you, how does that make you feel? Do you still think Big Aggra has your best interests at heart? Do you still think vegans, especially those who fight for the rights of animals (land and sea) are still “terrorists” as Big Aggra likes to refer to us, [ahem] well those of us who choose to expose the dark underbelly of the factory farm industry.

People who speak out in favor OF GMO labeling aren’t doing so to draw attention to themselves, you know, to bask in the limelight. They speak out because they want to know what they are eating. Big Aggra won and hoodwinked most Californians into voting against Prop 37.  Folks, don’t buy into their propaganda.  Do your own research.

Have you ever seen the commercial for High Fructose Corn Syrup with the woman walking through a corn field basically saying that HFCS is just as safe for you as real sugar and how your “body doesn’t know the difference”? Bull Sh*t!  Do your research and you’ll find that the opposite is true.

Here is an excerpt from this source, but like I said, do your own research:

HFCS and cane sugar are NOT biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body. High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. It is extracted from corn stalks through a process so secret that Archer Daniels Midland and Carghill would not allow the investigative journalist, Michael Pollan to observe it for his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a chemically and biologically novel compound called HFCS.Some basic biochemistry will help you understand this. Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together – glucose and fructose in equal amounts.

The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body.HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form.Fructose is sweeter than glucose. And HFCS is cheaper than sugar because of the government farm bill corn subsidies

BTW, my Italian father calls soda, “Bone dust.”

Have you noticed that the commercials touting that Milk helps you lose weight are no longer airing on TV? That’s because it was discovered that there was no scientific data to backup that claim. If you don’t believe me, watch Got the Facts On Milk or read this.

Have you noticed how many food commercials there are on TV and for every food commercial there is a prescription drug commercial to alleviate the symptoms of a poor diet? Yesterday, Azz and I were fixing my wireless network and had the TV on for background noise (I only have basic cable) and I could no longer count how many commercials I heard for:  KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Sonic, Taco Bell, Lays Chips, and Chex to name a few. Nor could I keep track of the number of Rx drug commercials, which leads me to my next point.

Have you noticed that there are almost no commercials for vegetables? When was the last time you saw a commercial touting the benefits of eating a plant-based diet?

Make no mistake folks, for those of you who scoff at us Vegans, know this:  Big Aggra and the Pharmaceutical companies want you fat and sick. Or as Joe Cross says, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” 

Just sayin’

Lentil & Buttercup Squash Stoup with Brown Rice & Rye Berries

Every Sunday I make meals for the week, by doing so, I never have to worry about what I’m going to have for lunch or dinner. Today, I made Lentil & Buttercup Squash Soup (well, Stoup because it’s thicker than soup) with Brown Rice & Rye Berries (cooked using the Saveur method).   If you have never tried a buttercup squash then I suggestion you run out right now and purchase one. If you’re a squash lover like I am, then BC Squash will knock you over. The taste is incredible. I have cooked it in various ways (soups, stews, roasted, etc.) and I never grown tired of it.

I also used the last of my mutant carrots from my garden.  I didn’t want to toss these babies into the composter. I mean, just because they look like something from an alien planet, doesn’t mean they deserve a tossing with nary a care, right???



The ingredient list line-up:

Photo Left:  Buttercup Squash, onion, lemon, my mutant carrots and garlic.

Middle Photos: Kombu (I use kombu in most of my soup (stoup) and stews recipes. Kombu assists the body in breaking down legumes. )

Picture of Rye Berries

Photo on Right:  Snapshot of the Saveur brown rice cooking method


The finished product:


And here is a picture of my cat Sammy (just because), baking a sunshine cake (that’s what my father calls it when he sees a cat lying in the sun – “baking a sunshine cake”).


And this is a picture of my favorite snack (again, just because) which goes great with everything, especially hummus or Tahini. Yum!

I hope everyone remembered to set their clocks back 1 hour.



For your consideration:

Not everything is as it seems…

A co-worker of mine named Greg, who is the founding father of  http://www.rivegan.com;  a restaurateur extraordinaire, creator of Man Soap,  and overall super nice guy, decided to make a pilgrimage to meet with the owner of a new vegan bakery that opened in Arlington, MA called Totally Sweet .  [Note: I had blogged about this back in October.] The reason Greg wanted to meet with the owner is to find out if in fact her goods were truly vegan; turns out, they are not. Evidently, the owner uses monoglycerides (diglycerides) in her baking, which is a derivative of animal fat and is found in margarines, cake mixes, candies, other foods etc.  it is even found in some cosmetics (yuck!).  When Greg questioned her about it, she didn’t seem to understand that her items cannot honestly be labeled “vegan” if she’s using said ingredients.  This truly is a pity because Greg and I were soooo looking forward to trying some of her vegan doughnuts.

Further into my conversation with Greg, I learned there is an App (natch!) that I can download which is basically an encyclopedia of all non-vegan ingredients that could be lurking in your so-called vegan pre-made foods (like Monoglycerides). This app is called Animal Free   Now mind you, I think it’s safe to say that most of us vegans eat whole foods and generally do not partake in something pre-made, prepackaged; however dot. dot. dot. sometimes some of us vegans like to nosh on things from our non-vegan days – this is why we often find substitutions for foods from our past. It is also the reason why some vegans make painstaking efforts to veganise (is this a word?) some of their favorite desserts.  Heck, even GiRRl_Earth likes to a little something-something to nibble on that isn’t exactly the best thing for her which is why when the mood strikes and I need something sweet and sinful,  I will pick up a dessert at Whole Foods from Candle Cafe or Moo-Cluck — as those desserts are vegan.

Hey, what can I say, contrary to popular belief (kidding) I am not perfect.  M-kay?


A Vegan Bakery in Arlington, Massachusetts! Can I get a WOOT?

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Today, one of my fellow vegans, entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder of www.RIVegan.com informed me that we have a vegan distributor right here in good ole’ Puritanical Massachusetts.  Wahoooooooooo!  🙂

check it out: Totally Sweet Baking Company 

I cannot wait to try some of their goodies.





Onigiri Japanese Rice Ball – Made with Toasted Sesame Salt by Carla DeLangre

This is a great macrobiotic dish that I am copying/pasting from Selina Naturally, to which I am a member.

This is simple, easy to make and oooh so healthy.



  • 2-3 cups cooked organic brown rice or millet
  • 2 tablespoons organic wheat-free tamari
  • 1 organic scallion minced
  • 4 organic umeboshi’s (salted plums) pitted and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon organic rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground sesame seed salt (gomasio) in a small bowl
  • 1 cup cold water


    With clean hands or a spoon mix together umeboshi, vinegar, and scallions then incorporate the umeboshi mixture to the rice. Roll 1/4 cup of rice into a ball. Dip fingers into tamari and roll the rice ball around hands to coat with tamari. Lightly roll or dust the rice bowl in the ground Toasted Sesame Salt.

    Garnish with nori and greens and serve warm or room tempurature.

    Makes 8-12 rice balls.

    Recipe created by Carla DeLangre.


Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Rice & Rye Berries (not Wheat Berries!)

Those of you who follow my blog might recall from previous posts that I cook all of my meals on Sundays so that I have lunch and dinner for the entire week.  Eating this way allows me to control what I am putting into my body as well as control my spending.  I work in Boston and quite honestly the food offerings around the vicinity of my office aren’t that great. We do have one vegan food truck which is terrific in a pinch. But quite honestly, I prefer to cook my own food as I don’t like a lot of people touching/prepping my food.  This probably stems from my days working in the industry as a Garde Manger and then Pastry Cook.

As I mentioned in my post: Cutting the Cord with Cable, well almost, I have friends who cannot make time to cook, and yet seem to have ample time to watch their favorite reality TV line-up (go figure).  I receive so much enjoyment from cooking that I would prefer to cook than watch TV.

Also, due to the hours I work (plus my commute in/out of the city), I don’t have a lot of time during the week to prep and cook a meal, which is the other reason I cook meals (usually two or three) on Sundays to cover me for the week.

Anyway, yesterday I made Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew with Rice & Rye and I thought it might be nice to share this with my followers.

In case you are wondering about the Brown Rice & Rye Berries, let me say this:  Brown Rice and Rye Berries cooked together is the best! I love it and eat it with everything and so good for you. 

Chick Pea and Red Lentil Stew

(FYI: This is a great recipe for a Crockpot!)


  • Crockpot, Soup or Stock Pot
  • EVOO (or whatever oil you like)
  • Celtic Sea Salt ~ eyeball it. I think I used 1 heaping tsp
  • Yellow Onion (or whatever onion you like) ~ rough chopped
  • 1-3 large carrots ~ cut on the diagonal
  • Chile pepper(s) ~ Fresh (use whatever kind you like. I used Serrano) ~ chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper ~ rough chopped
  • Garlic (use as many or as little cloves as you like. I used 5)
  • Garam Masala ~ eyeball it. I don’t use exact measurements as I use the palm of my hand
  • 2 cans Garbanzo Beans (a.k.a. Chick Peas) drained/rinsed
  • 1 package of red lentils (I used Goya brand)
  • 1 can of Tomato Puree (I used Cento brand)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • ¼ – 1/3 cup of black pitted olives ~ eyeball it, I didn’t use exact measurements

Method of Prep:

Gather all of your mis-en-place

  • Pre-heat pot
  • Rough chop: Onion, chile pepper and green bell pepper
  • Slice carrots on the diagonal
  • Drain/rinse Chick peas ~ set aside
  • Open can of crushed tomatoes ~ set aside
  • Add EVOO to pre-heated pot
  • Add onions, carrots, green and hot peppers and salt.  Cover and sweat the vegetables until translucent
  • Remove lid & Add Garam Marsala, leave lid off and cook until you can smell the spices.
  • Add a little water and scrape bottom of pan
  • Add Chick Peas, Red Lentils, and Tomato Puree, plus 1 can of water from puree can, vegetable stock and olives.
  • Give a good stir and simmer , slightly covered,  (unless using Crockpot) until cooked through.

Serve with Rice & Rye



Important: MUST SOAK OVERNIGHT (Best cooked in Rice Cooker and/or Pressure cooker, or you could even use Crockpot)


  • 1 cup Brown Rice
  • 1 cup Bob Red Mills Rye Berries (NOT: Wheat Berries)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 TBSP of Wakame Seaweed ~eyeball it
  • ¼ cup Shoyu

Method of Prep:

1 large pot

  1. Measure: 1 cup of Brown Rice, 1 cup of Rye Berries and add to pot.
  2. Add 4 cups of filtered water and Wakame
  3. Cover and soak overnight 

Next day:

  • Remove lid
  • Add 1/8-1/4 of tsp of Celtic Sea salt
  • Bring Rice/Rye to a boil ~ DO NOT STIR OR DISTURB, otherwise the rice/rye will turn out mushy.
  • Reduce to low heat
  • Cover and allow to cook.  PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB

After an hour or more, check to see if all the water is absorbed. Turn off heat, add Shoyu, cover and allow pot to sit on burner (w/out heat).

Be sure stir before serving. Rice and Rye goes with everything!






17 inches…

I’m talking about my butternut squash. What did you think I was referring to, my waistline…? Ha-Ha!

Take a look at my first Butternut Squash of the season. Wahooooooooo! I am so proud. Feast your eyes on all 17 inches of this baby.  This is the largest BN Squash I have ever grown in my life!  I cooked it (only seems right to not assign a gender to my food) yesterday. I made a vegan butternut squash curry soup with cilantro and it was, yum-o-licous (if I say so myself).

My first Butternut Squash September 2012

And this picture is of my cat Sam, who was keeping me company Sunday morning, 5:30 a.m. while I was having coffee.  In fact, this is a pretty regular routine where he lies across whatever I’m reading/writing at the kitchen table, which in this case, is my food/exercise journal that I review with my fabulous nutritionists in Cambridge.  I rely on her guidance to ensure I’m eating a well-balanced, vegan diet.

Oh and no that’s not cow’s milk in my coffee, that is hazelnut So Delicious Coffee *creamer* which truly is Soooooooooo Delicious!

Low Carb, No Carb, Gluten Free Diets

How many of you, your friends, and/or your family members have adopted a *low carb diet*? I can count on both hands the number of people in my office alone who claim to be on low-carb, no-carb or gluten-free diets.  It’s asinine.  I’m sorry, but it is.  These people fear carbs and gluten like the Boogeyman, and yet give nary a care as to how their eggs, chicken, beef, pork, and fish were raised (and slaughtered).  Carbs and Gluten are the Devil, but consuming a chicken breast is well within their comfort zone, irrespective of how that chicken lived (and died!) before landing in their salads or wrap.  Personally, I’d rather gorge myself on carbs and gluten — at least no one died in the making. You see my point?

As most of you following this blog know, I am a passionate advocate for animal rights, a vegan lifestyle, and macrobiotics.  To that end, I follow many animal welfare sites.  The other day, the following article  via Free From Harm landed in my email inbox and I felt it was worth re-posting here.  The source of the article can be found here. But I have also copied and pasted the article into this post for your ease.

‘Allergic’ to All But Meat, Cheese and Eggs?

comic I respect the fact the some have food allergies, and some of these allergies are serious and life-threatening. The fact that these allergies are real threats to their health and survival has been well-documented. On the other side of the spectrum is a growing chorus of people today who are claiming to be allergic to almost everything imaginable — except meat and cheese and eggs. Isn’t that interesting?

Many people who have adopted a low-carb diet regimen claim that complex carbs, which consequently have been the nutrient-dense staples of civilization for millennia, just “don’t agree with them anymore.” Others claim to have adverse reactions to soy and other legumes, the very superfoods that could sustain them well on a plant based diets. Suddenly with all of the options they have ruled out, they are left with no other option than to bring animal products back into their diet. And these are doctors orders, they will assure you!

Are these really allergies or are they simply excuses, ways to rationalize a return to eating animal products? To what extent do powerful psychological and sociological forces play a role in this process of elimination and justification of food choices? These are questions that continue to fascinate me and that I intend to explore more fully in the months to come.

I also can’t help but see the uncanny coincidence that none of these people I am reading about — not one — is allergic to meat, cheese or eggs! And equally baffling is the fact that no one seems to question that the animals we are eating get all of their nutrients from plants, the same plant sources they claim to be allergic to! These animals are essentially herbivores by nature (even though they are often fed animal by-products and manure on modern farms).

And why do they have so much faith in their doctors, the vast majority of whom have only a cursory understanding of nutrition and are simply regurgitating what they learned from the USDA, handing out USDA My Plate pamphlets that come from the same government agency whose job is to promote animal agriculture? If they really want to observe a plant based or largely plant based diet, why aren’t they consulting leading nutritionists who have made it their business to show how people can get all their nutrients from plant sources and show how animal products do not offer us anything we can’t get from plant sources? There’s plenty of them out there today, and they have plenty of internationally-recognized, peer-reviewed evidence to support them. Even the American Dietetic Association, also beholden to animal agribusiness interests, agrees! So what’s the real problem here?

In my efforts to dispel the myths about eating animals, I have been criticized that I am not looking at the individual nature of dietary needs. I am not a nutritionist, but at the same time, I know that calcium is calcium.

So let’s take calcium as an example. Calcium can be obtained from dairy products or they can be obtained by going to the same plants where the cow gets hers! And they are easier to digest and more readily available when we go directly to the source. I’m not failing to recognize that each individual may have different calcium needs and even at different times in their lives. My point is simply to acknowledge that calcium sources are abundant in plants. There is no disagreement about this simple fact. And we can go down the list of every essential nutrient and do the same, showing what plant sources have an abundance of said nutrient.

And yes, it is true that  B12 does not exist in a reliable or consistent manner from plant sources today (though it may have prior to modern agricultural practices), but it’s easy to take a B12 supplement or simply eat fortified plant-based foods that contain B12, like enriched breads or fortified soy or almond milk. All you need is a trace amount. Big deal! And nutritionists today, recognizing that even people consuming animal products heavily, cannot readily absorb B12 from food and therefore should also be taking a B12 supplement.

Honestly, I hate to get into the nitty gritty of nutrition debates! I say, leave it t the experts. If you want to know how to get optimal nutrition from a diet that does not include animal products, get the reference book, Vegan for Life, by Norris and Messina. You won’t need any other reference. It answers all of the concerns and objections I’ve heard.

I’d rather spend my time examining the psychology of eating that I think is really at the core of this sudden widespread epidemic of allergies and intolerances. I think we risk falling into a self fulfilling prophecy that blinds us to a deeper understanding of nutrition facts. Does it really make any sense that one could be allergic to everything but meat, cheese and eggs when these products are built upon the very ingredients they claim to be allergic to? Does something magical happen when they get ingested through an animal’s gut and become part of their flesh and mammary gland secretions? I’m waiting for real answers.

About Robert Grillo

Robert Grillo is the founder and editor of freefromharm.org. He has been a vegan for three years now and loves to write on the subject of food choices, psychology and popular culture. He shares his life with four rescued hens and a rescued homing pigeon. You can email Robert at



B.R.A.T. this is the acronym my doctor used when advising me on what to eat. For those of you who do not speak doctor, B.R.A.T stands for Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce and Toast.  Mmm. NOT!

You see, I have been having some stomach issues. When I say issues, what I mean is, when I eat something, I either have the overwhelming urge to barf or I have abdominal pain that feels like a scene from Alien. I rarely have an appetite (which is unlike me) and  I feel best when I do not eat anything at all. However, not eating poses another problem (if continued long term): death by starvation.  Lately, I’ve been subsisting on vegan protein drinks mixed with almond milk — and sometimes nothing at all. Mystified by the cause of my pain & nausea my doctor recommends I eat B.R.A.T.

So after work on Friday, I made an excursion to the wallet raping store known as Whole Paycheck (I mean, Foods) to pick up some bananas, (among other sundries).  Every cell in my vegan/macrobiotic body screamed out in protest of buying bananas.  Macros don’t do bananas, m-kay?  Bananas are tropical and I live outside of Boston, which last time I checked, isn’t a tropical place. (Although, living through the summer sans AC sure felt like the f*cking tropics, minus the beach and fancy drinks with umbrellas.)  I also picked up some apple sauce, a loaf of Ezekiel bread, another bag of brown rice (figuring I’d better stock up if this is going to be my diet staple) along with some macro staples such as: daikon root, kobacha squash, ginger, sugar snap peas, cilantro and scallions…I also perused the vegan desserts by MooCluck (love this company) and wound up buying the vegan version of a Hostess cupcake, minus the ground up animal bits i.e. eggs & dairy – hence MooCluck – get it?? C’mon, keep up, will ya?

Saturday morning I dropped (or should I say made a effing mess of) a banana into my protein vegan shake. Wasn’t bad — thickened it up a bit and held me until dinner time.  (I tend to go hours and I do mean hours between meals. I’m not an eat-every-three-hours kind of gal — used to be, but not anymore. That ship has sailed.)

Sunday, before heading outside to do extensive yard and gardening work [groan] — man do I wish it were winter already — I decided to toast some Ezekiel bread, smeared on some almond butter, sliced banana and drizzle of agave nectar. Do-able, and surprisingly, no pain or nausea — so far so good (thus far anyway). More to come on this…

This morning, for breakfast, I ate a honey crisp apple (yum!) and a banana. About 3 bites into the banana I realized something — I hate bananas (sorry monkeys).  They make me feel heavy, bogged down, sluggish, irritable and…well… just plan blah.

I am not a doctor but I swear my stomach issue might have something to do with the fact that I have been neglecting my macrobiotic diet. Since April, I have been all consumed by gardening, yard projects and maintenance – let’s face it – it never ends. As a result, I haven’t had as much time to devote to macro cooking.  I do all of my cooking on Sundays so I have meals for the entire week. I always make time for cooking – always! I will forfeit other things, in order to accommodate my cooking.And yet, for some reason, as soon as the weather turned, I began spending every flipping weekend outside, working, slaving in the yard and my garden, instead of balancing (key word here) outside responsibilities with my macro cooking. Don’t misunderstand, I was making wholesome meals but they were not macro – not by a long stretch. Vegan polenta & seitan casserole, anyone?

Back to Sunday:

Sunday morning (before the yard work), rather than sleep in, which I often like to do on Sundays, I got up at 5:05 a.m. (my usual M-F rise and shine time), blew the dust off my favorite, most cherished macro cookbook: Mayumi’s Kitchen: Macrobiotic Cooking for Body and Soul and skimmed through the book looking for one or two recipes that would put me back on the path to wholeness (is that a word?). Finding what I needed, I proceeded to make three meals (soup, Nabe and a lentil dish) incorporating all the ingredients I purchased at WF. Call me crazy, (go ahead, I can take it) but last night, after a hectic day of yard cleanup (R.I.P. my cucumber plants) I ate two bowls of Mayumi’s soup (this is a soup she made, while feeling run down, after touring with Madonna) and within an hour of eating the soup, I felt better – more centered.  That’s the beauty of macrobiotics, it centers you.   Now mind you, I am not an expert macro chef and have botched one too many a recipe but I keep trying and learning. Some recipes I have perfected, others I still struggle with —  it is what it is. Learning to cook Macro is long road — and some say it’s an arduous one. There are schools, (The Kushi Institute) but I don’t have the time or cash flow to pursue something like that, right now. However it is on my bucket list.  In the meantime, I buy books and experiment.

Anyhoo, while outside working, I reflected on how far off the macro path I had strayed and chided myself for being so careless.   Why did I stop following the macro principles that are the foundation of good health (eating fresh fermented ingredients, chewing at least 30 times, only eating until 80% full, and having dinner at least 3 hours before sleeping)? How could I have allowed this to happen? Easy. I was trying to be all things to all people — well sort of. Actually, I was trying to be superwoman which is, as my friend Wheeza says, “Stupes.” I fully believe good health stems from the foods you put into your body. This is why I converted to veganism after having been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for years. This is also why I adopted a macrobiotic lifestyle.

I do not have much faith in doctors — I’m sorry, but I don’t. Most seem to want to “put a pill on it” as my co-worker DB says. Since my stomach troubles began (about 2 or 3 months ago, who can remember?), I’ve been struggling, trying to find the cause.  Yes it’s true, I have been under a lot of stress lately due to managing and updating an old home but that cannot be it in its entirety. I’m beginning to think, straying from a macro diet has a lot to do with my stomach issues — or at least, this is what I have chosen to believe. Who knows… maybe I’m a crackpot or maybe I’ve been impregnated by an Alien and will soon give birth to a chest burster.  :-/