Archive for December, 2005

BAV News – January 2006

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

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Warm & Filling Soups for Cold Weather Days

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Soup is a perfect January food. It’s warm and filling for the cold weather. It’s cheap (or it can be), which our shell-shocked bank accounts appreciate after the holidays. It’s quick and easy when we’re tired and grumpy. And it’s a great way to lose some extra weight, if the rich holiday foods were just a little too plentiful for you this year.

When you eat a McDougall-style soup (no/very low fat) you can have all the soup you want—2 bowls, 3, whatever you need to feel satiated—and not worry about counting calories. Soup is based on water, so a lot of what you’re filling up with is that zero-calorie stuff our bodies need so badly. Base your soup on vegetables and whole grains and you’re getting vitamins, minerals, complex carbs for energy, protein from the grains—but no fat.

If you’ve got the winter blues, starving yourself is the last thing you need. Eat lots—but eat well—and you’ll feel satisfied AND lose weight.

Soup can be as simple or as tricky as you want it to be. If you take the time to sauté the onions and garlic in the beginning, add the different ingredients at different times, and then finish up by pureeing half of it and topping with a cashew cream—you’ll spend more time in the kitchen. For some of you that’s perfect. You love to cook and your kitchen is warm and cozy when it’s pouring outside.

But some of you don’t like to cook, and you’d rather be on e-mail or out running in the downpour. In that case, fill a pot with water, throw in your favorite grains and veggies, go do e-mail while it simmers for about 30 minutes (not including dried beans), season with salt and pepper and you’ll sit down to a big bowl of rich soup with hardly any effort.

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Tammy Lee

Saturday, December 31st, 2005


She walks the talk and woks her veggies — meet Tammy of Tammy & Chris, the veggie-powered co-founder of Bay Area Vegetarians.

Name: Tammy, of Tammy & Chris

Profession: Information Systems Consultant
Location: San Mateo Coastside

Are you vegetarian or vegan, and for how long?

I became aware of vegetarianism in 1989, and within six months I transitioned to being vegan.

What motivated you to make this change?

My first culinary attempts at veg cooking were, in retrospect, awful, so it definitely wasn’t the food that compelled me to make this lifestyle change. The animals, who are treated so horribly and unconscionably in factory farms, were and continue to be my motivation.

As I’ve learned more about cooking and eating different beans, vegetables, and grains, accumulated a yummy selection of cookbooks and recipes, plus enjoyed living veggie in one of the most veg-friendly areas in the world, my enjoyment of vegan foods is reinforced several times a day. I’ve also learned more about the environmental and social justice impacts of eating animals.

While I had already made the decision to go vegan, it really started when I went to a PETA “AR 101” workshop in 1990. I had my first wonderful vegan meal; it included tofu lasagna and chocolate cake. Aside from realizing vegan food is great (I just needed the right cookbook), that led to my first advocacy activity; I tabled with new friends to share the message at Earth Day that ‘Vegetarianism is the Single Most Important Thing You Can Do’. PETA remains one of my favorite organizations working for the animals.

What are you working on?

Asking and supporting people to eat veg. More animals are killed every minute for food than any other ab/use of animals. So, I feel my best contribution to reduce animal suffering is by promoting vegetarianism.

Nearly all of my volunteer time is spent promoting veg*nism via Bay Area Vegetarians. As most folks know, Chris and I started SFBAVEG as a mailing list in 2001, it evolved into Bay Area Vegetarians, which we incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) last year.

My most visible role is probably as list owner for SFBAVEG & SFBAVEG-EVENTS. I also co-host a monthly SF dinner with Chris, leaflet with Vegan Outreach’s Adopt-a-College program, manage the Compassionate Living program, and organize a few other events every year, typically a Vegan Food Party and camping trip. I’m also involved with promotion, and other responsibilities, including events & volunteer coordinator, newsletter editor, and food tester at Vegan Food Parties. And, yeah, I do this in my spare time since I have a full-time job elsewhere.

I know one person can achieve significant results, but I always feel the best results happen when we work together. I want Bay Area Vegetarians to be a valuable resource for the existing and aspiring vegetarian and animal rights community, so we can connect and support each other, and work together.

How can others get involved?

This question makes me laugh. People who know me realize that I am always asking people to help, and there are so many ways to get involved with a small, grassroots organization like Bay Area Veg. It can be as simple as organizing a Vegan Food Party, attending a letter writing party or KFC Cruelty Protest, helping us set-up chairs at an event, put out flyers, help promote the group’s activities on Craigslist, etc.

If I haven’t asked you, and you want to get involved, that’s wonderful! Bay Area Veg is always looking for volunteers. I suggest that folks start by attending events and get a feel for the community and what Bay Area Veg does. Come and talk to me about what your interests and ideas are. It’s important for new volunteers to understand Bay Area Veg and what Bay Area Veg does. Otherwise, it can eat a lot of my time to keep talking to potential volunteers who aren’t a good match for who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

There’s also lots of room for new projects and ideas. A good example is the recent ‘Project Tofurky’ that was sparked by one person seeing a plea for turkeys from the Food Bank, finding out they also wanted Tofurkys, sharing it with the community, and others wanting to work together

You can read more about Bay Area Veg and some volunteer opportunities here:

Who/what inspires you to keep going?

My sense of responsibility to the animals, and also seeing how my efforts make a difference. I work very closely with Chris, and we keep each other motivated. I have made many new friends through my volunteer work with Bay Area Veg. I’ve also enjoyed working closely with other dedicated local activists. Learning about what other activists are doing, both locally and nationally, is also very encouraging. Getting direct feedback from individuals how Bay Area Veg or SFBAVEG or our events or the Ultimate Guide, etc. has helped them in being veg*n also keeps me motivated.

What advice would you give to an aspiring vegan?

Take it one step at a time. Go to events, post questions to the online community (SFBAVEG or the Veggie Mentor forum) — basically, meet and connect with others who share your same interests and values towards vegetarianism. And educate yourself so you can feel confident and informed about your choices. See the ‘resources’ section on the BAVeg website.

What advice would you give to an aspiring activist?

Whether its promoting vegetarianism, raising awareness of vivisection, educating about the importance of spay/neuter — what we’re basically trying to do is “sell” people on a course of action that includes compassionate and responsible treatment of animals. So, smile, be friendly, and also respectful of different opinions; remember, most of us weren’t born veg*n either, we evolved.

Favorite sayings: “Perform a death-defying act… Go Vegan!” and “Veg*ns are like magnets. Either we stick together or we repel with equal force.”

Favorite dessert: MaggieMudd’s Peanut Butter Palooka or Tarmack

Favorite restaurants: See “UG Editor’s Choice” –

Favorite recipes: They’ve been highlighted in previous issues of BAVeg News 🙂

Favorite TV shows: Grey’s Anatomy, House, Battlestar Galactica, The Shield, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal (thank you TIVO!)

Favorite Movies: Matrix (first one), Lord of the Rings (all three, particularly Fellowship of the Ring)

Events I’m hosting or co-hosting this month:

01/08 Compassionate Living: Effective Advocacy for Animals – SF
01/27 San Francisco Dinner – SF
01/29 Vegan Food Party – Pacifica
01/31 Adopt a College leafletting – Academy of Arts College, SF

(see BAVeg Event Calendar for details)

The Scoop on Salt

Friday, December 30th, 2005

You know how you often taste food in a restaurant and you go home and try to replicate it, but you can never get it right? More often than not that fancy chef secret is plain old salt.

Restaurants use more salt in their food. So keep that in mind as you cook. If your food tastes bland to you, you may wish to keep it that way and let your taste buds gradually adjust to salt-free eating. But if you’re like me and you like tasty food, don’t stress when you taste a new recipe and find it disappointing. Simply add salt.

Too much salt tastes too salty, of course. But if you add enough salt, the foods in your dish are high-lighted and complemented. Homer called salt divine. Plato described it as dear to the gods. And do you know the old story “I Love You More Than You Love Salt?” That princess sure got in trouble but she was right in the end.

If we regularly eat the excessive salt found in meat foods, junk food, and fast food restaurants–then we’re probably hurting our taste buds and our poor hearts. But as far as I’m concerned, if I’m eating a basically healthy vegan diet, I’m not going to hesitate to use enough salt to make food taste good. People often compliment my food and they assume it’s because I’m a chef. I can make the exact same recipe as a “non-chef” (and I have done this), the only difference being an extra helping of salt in my dish, and the eaters assume my dish is better because I wear a white jacket. If you’re on a salt-free diet now I certainly don’t want you to change, but if you eat salt normally, and you’re not always happy with your cooking–try an extra pinch or two.

Map it Veg!

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

To get a better sense of where we’re at, and maybe meet some new folks near us, we’ve created a map for Bay Area Vegetarians. It takes only a couple of minutes to “pinpoint” your location (based on zipcode) You can also send a ‘shoutout’ (or greeting) when you do.

Let’s see how vegetarians in the Bay Area / California compare with vegetarians across the nation. Please send this second link to all the veggie people you know!

Project Tofurky

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

What is wonderful about having a community resource like SFBAVEG is being able to exchange and share ideas, and make them happen!

As reported in the recent December BAVeg News, in November, Warren posted an alert that the SF Food Bank wanted Tofurkys. I thought it was a great idea — to give less fortunate veg*ns and others the opportunity to have a completely vegan roast. I asked if people wanted to pool their funds to buy a bunch of Tofurkys.

Here is an update on “PROJECT TOFURKY”, an apt name coined by Jill: 90 Tofurkys (an $800 value) to two Bay Area food banks

45 Tofurkys to the SF Food Bank
45 Tofurkys to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

We contacted Turtle Island Foods (the makers of Tofurky) and they generously agreed to donate the Tofurkys to Bay Area Vegetarians; we provided the funds (about $350) for the overnight/refrigerated shipping.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort with their donations, ideas, and goodwill. We will follow up with the food banks, and if this effort was well-received, we’ll do it again next year.

BAV News – December 2005

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

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Bob Gotch

Saturday, December 3rd, 2005

Bob Gotch

Although his family was vegan before that word even existed, he made his own decision to embrace vegan living. Bob shares his story in this month’s Community Profile.

Name: Bob Gotch
Age: 56
Profession: Administrative / Customer Service / Database Management for county governmental agency
City: Hayward

I was born into a veg family and my parents had become vegan in the early 1940’s, both of them having grown up in traditional meat-eating families. This would have been just slightly before the word was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson in England. My mother and father were admirers of Gandhi’s non-violent movement that brought about India’s independence. They were pacifists, didn’t believe in killing animals for food or clothing, and also believed that a vegan diet was best for health.

My father had had rheumatic fever as a child, which damaged his coronary valves. Since there was nothing being offered by traditional medicine at that time–no bypasses, transplants, etc., he adopted veganism and fasting in part to see if he could improve his health. He still died relatively young of congestive heart failure at 43, and after his death my mother gave in to the pressure of her relatives and friends who didn’t think her children could possibly be healthy without at least eating dairy and eggs. “How are they going to have healthy ones and teeth?”

I can’t recall the number of times I heard my mom say, “Milk is for baby cows, not for humans.” But still, I drank milk and ate cheese with great zest, once I was exposed to its fatty, salty charms. And as a child unaware of the inherent cruelty of the dairy industry that we’re aware of now, I thought that since I wasn’t eating meat, I wasn’t contributing to animal misery.

Families being the most potent cult in existence, I adopted the lifestyle and beliefs of my parents quite meekly, (except for their views on dairy) and as a kid really believed that meat was bad for me, and carefully avoided it at all times, even as the neighborhood kids tried to slip it into something I was about to eat.

Later as a teenager I had meat a few times, as exploration or rebellion, then not again until about age 26, when upon the advice of an old Chinese herbalist/chiropractor/accupuncturist, I ate meat for about 6 weeks. After that experiment I never returned to meat, but continued to eat as a lacto/ovo vegetarian, which continued until I became vegan at World Vegetarian Day in Berkeley in 1996 after listening to talks given by doctors Michael Klaper and John McDougall. By that time I had already cut way back on dairy, wasn’t eating eggs, and made the transition quite easily, even being able to walk by the supermarket free sample displays in the deli section, not feeling any inclination to pick up a toothpick full of squares of various cheeses that I had indulged in so heavily from the ages of 6 to 46.

Vegetarianism has always been a central part of my identity, even when I was exploring outside of that lifestyle. I had a few vegetarian friends along the way, plus my immediate family, but otherwise was not connected to the veg community in the Bay Area until I encountered Das Deveraj’s Bay Area Vegetarian Restaurant Trek group, Howard Dyckoff’s East Bay Vegetarians, San Francisco Vegetarian Society, and later Bay Area Vegetarians.

The Internet has been extremely influential in proving the network of activities and gatherings that are available to us today. As one of BAVEG’s monthly restaurant hosts, at New World Vegetarian Restaurant in Oakland, I can only marvel at what a difference several decades make! I remember when there were no salad bars, something taken for granted these days. And of course the opportunity to have great vegan meals at restaurants such as New World, Golden Lotus, Cha Ya, Millennium, and so many others is a fantastic difference from the fifties, sixties, and seventies to now.

As a kid I always had mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and dogs living with me. Now I choose not to share my home with animals. I love animals, want them to be free of cruelty, abuse and misery, but have no desire to live with them, unlike most of my vegan counterparts.

Looking back on my early introduction to veganism, adoption of lacto/ovo diet despite my parents’ beliefs that dairy and eggs were not meant for the human diet, and then going back to the vegan lifestyle that I was born into, I’m wondering if there could have been anything that anyone could have said, done, exposed me to, that would have made me leave lacto/ovo vegetarianism any more quickly. It’s hard to say, because I really didn’t meet any vegans until just a few years before becoming one in 1996. I think intense lobbying or guilt-tripping on anyone’s part wouldn’t have been successful, and I needed to take the path that I did to return to the vegan lifestyle that I live today which makes so much sense to me now from all three of the major perspectives–animal cruelty/exploitation, health, and environment.

So, for more than fifty years I can recall my mom’s words: We don’t kill animals for food or clothing, milk is for baby calves, not for humans, and hydrogenated oil is bad! She was ahead of her time.

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