Health, Animal Rights, and Ecology
Volume I, No.2, September 1990
I want to take some time to tell you about the Vegetarian Summerfest I attended in early August at the State University of New York in Geneseo.
Our Hawaiian contingent of five people was the object of cheerful curiosity on the part of the east coast participants. Dr. Bill Harris was especially visible; he gave three well-received slide lectures, one of which will be presented at our Sept. 11 meeting.
Dr. Michael Klaper, scientific advisor to EarthSave, was a prominent speaker at the conference. He gave us some very exciting news: the Los Angeles public television station KCET has received a $120,000 grant to produce an hour documentary based on Diet for a New America by John Robbins. Dr. Klaper will be writing the script and doing the narration for the program, which should be completed by Christmas of this year.
We also enjoyed meeting Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of The Power of Your Plate. He gave an encouraging talk on alternatives to animal research and animal testing.
With all these vegetarian physicians in attendance, the conference could have been mistaken for an AMA convention of the future. Although Dr. John McDougall was not present this year, we were pleased to see what a powerful influence he has had nationwide. Doctors are buying his books by the case to hand out to their patients, and registered dieticians use his books as primary references when effecting changes in school lunch programs. He is quoted widely and with great respect in most of the new books on vegetarian diet. It is a shame that doctors and nutritionists in Hawaii were so resistant to his ideas when he lived here, as he could have been an invaluable resource for them. Let's hope people will find it easier to accept his concepts now that they have been validated by many health professionals across the country.
Presentations were given at the conference by several registered dieticians, including George Eisman, Carol Coughlin, and Bob LeRoy-Sibrava. The latter gave an excellent summary of the recently completed Chinese diet study, which provides strong verification of the superiority of a vegetarian diet in disease prevention.
Carol Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, gave a thought-provoking talk on the "macho" element in meat eating; she pointed out that this element often adds an extra barrier to the rational discussion of dietary change. She is a highly literate and delightful speaker, and of course also a repected feminist.
The most delicious part of the conference was a two hour cooking demonstration by award-winning chef Ron Pickarski. We swooned over his vegan chocolate cake with pecans and strawberries, and we eagerly await his cookbook which will be coming out this fall. He has developed an instant seitan powder (seitan is also known as gluten) which will soon be available from Arrowhead Mills. We tasted it and found it to be tender and flavorful: a perfect meat substitute.
There were other presentations too numerous to mention, by people such as Victoria Moran, Keith Akers, and the leaders of local vegetarian societies in both the U.S. and Canada.
We had a half-day field trip to the Farm Sanctuary, where animals which have been rescued from the meat industry may live out their lives in peace. Most had been sick, or injured so severely that they could not be sold for profit. They were rescued from "dead piles" or out of trash cans, and nursed back to health by these dedicated people. The Sanctuary is a peaceful, loving place where children and adults can interact with the animals, and where people can also obtain educational materials about factory farming.
We bought lots of new books, picked up some great recipes, and handed our card to all of our favorite speakers. Hopefully this networking will be rewarded in the future, and we will have some delightful people come out to visit Paradise and talk to our society.
We finished our trip with a night of restaurant sampling on Monroe Street in Rochester. A Chinese restaurant with a sign reading "Vegetarians Welcome" looked inviting, but my fellow vegetarians cringed as I quizzed the waiter about his sauce ingredients. Then we had seconds at a Mexican restaurant across the street, which was more sensitive to my vegetarian needs. On the way home we passed the Chinese restaurant again and Georgie Yap R.N. joked that the "Vegetarians Welcome" sign had disappeared.
The Summerfest experience was incredibly positive. The food was good, the setting was beautiful and the speakers and activities were terrific.
Next year the Vegetarian Union of North America (VUNA) and the American Vegan Society (AVS) will hold their joint congress at Regis College in Denver August 7-11. For more information you can write to:
Vegetarian Union of North America
PO Box 61273 Denver, CO 80206
FALL 1990 CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES
Tuesday, September 11th:
Monthly meeting of the Society. Bill Harris MD, emergency room physician and forty year vegetarian, presents an illustrated lecture on "The Basic Four Food Groups: Science or Fiction?". Social afterward. 7:00 P.M. at Manoa Public Library, 2716 Woodlawn Drive.
Sunday, September 23rd:
Hike Diamond Head with a picnic afterward. Meet near the restrooms inside the crater at 10:00 A.M. Picnic will be after the hike, approximately noon. Bring your own food and beverages.
Monday, October 1st:
World Vegetarian Day. Use this day to personally introduce someone you know to vegetarianism. Invite them over for dinner, give them a copy of Diet for a New America by John Robbins, or mail some of your favorite vegetarian recipes to them.
Tuesday, October 9th:
Monthly meeting of the Society. Alan Titchenal Ph.D., nutritionist and exercise physiologist, gives a lecture and slide presentation on "The Realities of Weight Control". Social afterward. 7:00 P.M. at Kaimuki Public Library, 1041 Koko Head Avenue (at Harding).
Saturday, October 20th:
Potluck dinner. Bring a hot dish to serve 4-6 people. No meat, poultry, or fish please. Many members are vegans who consume no eggs, dairy products, or honey either. Please bring a 3x5 card with a list of ingredients for your dish. 6:00 PM, call 395-1499 for location and details.
Tuesday, November 13th:
Peter Burwash, well known health and fitness expert, presents an illustrated talk entitled "Vegetarianism, the Best Gift You Can Give to Yourself and to Society". Burwash played the international tennis circuit for seven years and was ranked #1 in Hawaii for three years. He is the author of four books on tennis, fitness and nutrition, and is president of the largest tennis management firm in the world. Social afterward. 7:00 P.M. at Kaimuki Library.
Wednesday, November 21st:
Vegetarian Society Thanksgiving dinner at Country Life restaurant. Reservations will be taken beginning on November 1st. For reservations, checks should be made out to "Country Life Restaurant", but mailed to the Vegetarian Society. Price is $15 for Society members and $17 for non-members. Deadline for reservations is November 15th, and no refunds can be made after that date. 6:30 P.M. at 421 Nahua St. in Waikiki. Please be on time!
Every Monday night from 7:00-8:00PM, KGU radio (AM 76) presents "Nutrition and You", hosted by Dr. Terry Shintani and Ruth Heidrich. Events of the Vegetarian Society will be announced on this program.
Saturday, September 15th:
Free health and fitness seminar by Peter Burwash at the Turtle Bay Hilton, 10:30 A.M. until noon. For reservations and details, contact Dave Kensler at:
Peter Burwash International
1909 Ala Wai Blvd. Suite 1010
Honolulu, HI 96815
2320 S. King St.
(in Old Stadium Mall)
Hours: 11:00-7:00 Mon-Sat
This little hole in the wall can hardly be classed as a restaurant, as it contains only six tiny tables seating two people each. It's actually an Indian grocery store with a deli serving half a dozen vegetarian curry dishes. But the food is aromatic, delicious, and inexpensive; for $4.00 you get your choice of three hot dishes with a big helping of rice. Additional items for purchase are chapatis, papadum, and lentil fritters. No animal flesh or eggs are served, and vegans will be pleased to know that vegetable oil is used for cooking instead of ghee. Some dishes on the menu (such as raita and lassi) do contain dairy products, so it is best to check with the proprietor regarding the contents of the items you choose. You might also consider leaving one of our green cards on the table when you go, requesting brown rice as an alternative to the polished rice.
A steady stream of satisfied patrons passes through India Bazaar, some of them eating at the tables and many taking food out. It's certainly a great place for a quick meal. We would like to see them expand into a comfortable dining establishment so give them your support. Real vegetarian restaurants are hard to come by in this town!
Ornish DM, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, et al.
This study, hinted at a year ago in Vegetarian Times, has finally made it past peer review to publication in the 21 July issue of Lancet. Dr. Ornish, nine co-authors, and 42 clinical assistants have come forward with evidence that coronary heart disease (CHD), responsible for 978,500 fatalities in 1988, can be reversed at no more cost than a dietary adjustment.
Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?
Lancet 1990; 336:129-133
After appropriate randomization, 22 experimental patients were placed on a vegetarian diet which contained 10% Calories from fat, 15-20% protein, and 70-75% complex carbohydrates. No animal products were allowed except egg white and one cup per day of non-fat milk or yoghurt for an estimated 5 mg dietary cholesterol/day. 19 control patients continued on usual medical care.
Both groups had been shown to have coronary artery narrowing as measured by angiography (x-ray of the heart after introducing a radio-opaque dye). After a year they received repeat angiograms. Narrowing had diminished in 82% of the experimental group, while it had increased in the controls.
The changes in narrowing were only 2-3%, which seems modest. However, Ornish points out that the rate of coronary blood flow is a fourth power function of coronary artery diameter. Thus it is not surprising that experimental patients experienced a 91% decrease in the frequency of angina (heart pain due to inadequate blood flow). By contrast, controls reported a 165% increase in frequency, an inevitable result of the continued deposition of cholesterol plaque in the arterial lining.
In the experimental group total serum cholesterol fell by 24.3%, even though these patients had already reduced fat consumption to 31.5% of calories and cholesterol intake to 213 mg/day before the study began (300 mg of cholesterol per day is the McGovern Committee recommended upper limit).
In both experimental and control groups, cessation of smoking, aerobic exercise, and stress management were encouraged, but only in the experimental group were all the dietary and lifestyle modifications mandatory. In the entire study group, overall adherence to the modifications was strongly related to changes in coronary artery narrowing.
This is an important study. Blankenhorn et al. in JAMA 1987;257:3233-40 had previously demonstrated CHD regression in patients treated with low cholesterol diets and cholesterol lowering drugs in combination, but it now appears that similar results can be obtained by a lacto-vegetarian diet alone.
The same study, performed with a vegan (strict vegetarian) diet, could be expected to be even more remarkable. That such a diet might prove impractical to most Americans can be countered with Ornish's observation: "The point of our study was to determine what is true, not what is practicable".
-William Harris M.D.
McDougall, John A., M.D.
The McDougall Program: Twelve Days to Dynamic Health
NAL Books 1990 $19.95
John McDougall was one of the first vegetarian authors to support his position with scientific references (see The McDougall Plan, New Century, 1983). Critics charged the references were selective and they were right; the references were that part of the scientific literature the medical establishment had selected to ignore. In fact, the various articles from NEJM, Lancet, JAMA, Am J Cardiol, Br Med J, etc. cited by Dr. McDougall cumulatively indict animal food in most of the diseases of western civilization. Critics then charged that this is a monistic approach to complicated and unrelated diseases. If McDougall is right, most of our costly modern medical practices can be replaced by a vegan diet.
This book is well written and edited, with a good deal of practical advice on making the big change. Mary McDougall's excellent recipes are particularly useful for beginners. A superb "Medical Guide to Healthful Living" contrasts standard medical practice with the McDougall approach in the treatment of thirty maladies, each with a separate bibliography for back-up. In a synthesis of common sense and mainstream science the author has developed a persuasive case that the first line of treatment for most illness is not only painless but free.
Credible case reports of some of the 180 patients who have rotated through the McDougall Program at St. Helena Hospital in Napa Valley, CA are given, but there's a disappointing lack of data analysis. We realize that for the sick, waiting for controlled studies is like insisting on buoyancy tests from the Coast Guard before throwing in a life preserver. However, one does hope Dr. McDougall will summarize his results for eventual publication in a scientific journal.
This book, as with McDougall's previous works, is an excellent investment. For McDougall fans it is, of course, de rigueur.
-William Harris M.D.
AND SPEAKING OF BOOKS:
VSH has the following titles in stock:
Vegan Nutrition: Pure and Simple by Michael Klaper M.D....$8.95
Pregnancy, Children and the Vegan Diet by Michael Klaper M.D....$8.95
The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals by Gentle World..........$9.95
Tax, shipping, and handling charges will be added. Call 395-1499 for exact prices.
DECODING THE CONFUSE-O-GRAM
On the next page is a an example of a common species found in ladies mags and Sunday food supplements. Honestly enough, this one says down at the bottom that it's an advertisement, but not until it's examined does it become obvious whose advertisement it is.
Clearly the foods have been sorted in descending order according to calcium content, and dairy products dominate the top of the list. Then we note there are four different units of measurement in the "Size" column: cups, half cups, ounces, and grams. There's no problem with the ounces and grams but would anyone care to guess how much kale is in a cup of kale? And how come only a half cup of collard greens instead of a full cup?
In the right hand column the Calorie content is listed and the folks who cooked up this ad are betting you won't whip out your pocket calculator and sort the foods in descending order by calcium/Calorie ratio. We did it and the results are on the page after.
FOODS HIGH IN CALCIUM (Original)
Here is a list of foods that are some of nature's best sources of calcium.
"FOODS HIGH IN CALCIUM (Revised)"
Here is a list of foods that are some of nature's best sources of calcium."
The first dairy product above doesn't make the list until number seven. The next time you run across the confuse-o-gram take a little time and figure up the nutrient/Calorie ratios.
Russian General: "We feed our troops one thousand Calories a day."
American General: "We feed our troops three thousand Calories a day."
Russian General: "Nonsense! No one can eat a whole sack of potatoes in twenty-four hours."
MEET OUR MEMBERS
This quarter we want you to meet John Moffitt, who was present at our very first meeting and has attended nearly every activity since then. John is relatively new to Honolulu, having been here less than two years , and he lives by himself near Ala Moana Center. Originally from New York he has done a lot of traveling and has lived in Europe for long periods of time.
John was introduced to vegetarianism by his yoga instructor in England, and he was also influenced by Paul Bragg, who he met at one of Bragg's lectures in London. John has now been a vegetarian for over twenty-five years, and says ethical reasons are his primary reason for not eating meat. Over the years yoga has become an important part of his life. He studied under Swami Vishnu Devanada, and eventually taught yoga for him in the Bahamas for eight years. In Hawaii John has studied Tai Chi from Hansel Chang at the Oriental Medical Institute, and is an assistant Tai Chi teacher at the Waikiki Community Center.
John is now taking a course in home health care at Leahi Hospital and works under supervision with patients in their homes. Once certified as a home health aide, he will work with low income people who receive this government-sponsored care.
In his spare time, John plays basketball and collects old art postcards from the turn of the century. He admits to a collection of Upper Deck baseball cards as well, so you may see him at Jellie's or at the swap meet
You can recognize John by his gentle, quiet manner, and by the trace of a British accent from his years in England. We are pleased to have him as a member of our Society and we know you will like him too.
Lentil and Brown Rice Soup-(Bill Reger)
8 cups water,
2 cubed potatoes,
1 cup lentils,
1 cup brown rice,
1-28 oz can cut up tomatoes,
3 sliced carrots,
1 chopped onion,
1 stalk chopped celery,
3 large crushed garlic cloves,
1/2 tsp basil,
1/2 tsp oregano,
1/2 tsp thyme,
1 bay leaf,
1/2 cup chopped parsley,
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar,
freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Combine first 13 ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, vinegar, and pepper. Serve.
Vegetable Pinwheels-(Jan Mareko) Ingredients:
1 large bunch kale or Swiss chard,
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice,
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder,
3-4 Tbsp Dijon or brown mustard,
1 pkg. (10 oz) "Thin-Thin Bread" or oil-free "Soft Lavosh".
Steam the greens 2 min. and drain off liquid. Keep the leaves whole. Sprinkle with lemon juice and garlic powder and chill on paper towels. Spread the bread with mustard, lay the greens on the bread and firmly roll up in jelly roll fashion (start from the narrow end). Trim off ends and slice into 1/2-3/4 inch pinwheels. Lay flat and serve on platter as appetizer. This recipe reprinted courtesy of Mary McDougall.
Some of the nutrients are shown (right) with the nutrient indices for a woman age 23-50. (e.g. the Lentil-Rice recipe contains 1.6X the protein and 1.3X the calcium needed per Calorie in the overall diet). Neither recipe contains B12 or cholesterol.