What A Difference A Day Makes

This wonderful clip was commissioned by Animal Aid – one of the largest and longest established animal rights groups in the United Kingdom. In less than two minutes it explains how eating vegetarian for one day a week could help the environment from a logical point of view. It was created by the award-winning, London-based design/motion company Taylor McKenzie to help launch the Meatless Monday campaign.

According to a post on the Animal Aid website, livestock farming and animal slaughter are now recognized as a significant contributor to many environmental problems. They report that the United Nations stated that it is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the entire transport sector combined. Other environmental groups say the figure could be more than 50 percent.

In my opinion, this video is a perfect way to educate and inspire others to at least think about the meat industry.  It drives the point without relying on graphic images of animal torture or judgmental messages which often turn people off to vegetarian causes. Instead, it encourages all to eat meat-free just one day a week – certainly doable even to a devoted meat-and-potatoes person – and the message is neither heavy nor guilt-ridden. The accompanying music – a loop of the lively piano intro of Moby’s “In My Heart” – works in perfect synch the upbeat theme.

 Download “In My Heart” at Amazon.com

So what is a vegetarian anyway?

The phrase “vegetarian” is often misrepresented by those who do not quite understand it. Although there’s proof that vegetarianism goes back as far as the 8th century B.C. — before the mid-1800’s non-meat eaters were often known as “Pythagoreans” or adherents of the “Pythagorean System,” after the ancient Greek “vegetarian” Pythagoras — the actual name and definition was established in September of 1840 by a reformed British politician named Joseph Brotherton and others at the initial meeting of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom. (Another interesting fact: Brotherton’s wife Martha is credited to have written the first vegetarian cookbook, A New System of Vegetable Cookery, in 1812.) In 1908, the International Vegetarian Union was formed to unite similar organizations within Europe and later the world. It still is going strong – most of the facts for this post come from their website; a fantastic resource for information, articles and recipes from around the globe.

The original definition of “vegetarian” was “with or without eggs or dairy products,” and that classification is still used by the Vegetarian Society today. However, it is an umbrella term. As vegetarians’ dietary restrictions evolved – due to ethical, health or religious beliefs – so has some people’s classification of “meat”. For example, within the kosher law (which can be very complicated) only certain warm blooded animals are restricted and fish (with the exception of shellfish) is not considered meat at all and can be served with dairy. The idea that fish is not meat is quite common, but not within vegetarian guidelines. Slaughter by-products, such as gelatin, lard and animal rennet, are also avoided within the vegetarian diet.

With that in mind, here are the different types of vegetarians. Take note that all terms are always in reference to diet only. There are vegetarians who wear leather and may or may not use non-food animal by-products, but are at the very least the first description below:

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Is defined as an individual who does not eat meat, poultry, fish or slaughter animal by-products, yet consumes eggs and milk products. Latco and ovo come from the Latin words for milk and egg respectively. This is the most common type of vegetarian in most Western countries.

Ovo Vegetarian: Same as above with the elimination of milk products.

Lacto Vegetarian: Same as above with the elimination of eggs.

Vegan: Excludes all animal products including eggs and milk products as well as non-slaughter animal derivative products such as honey. True veganism extends diet restriction with the elimination for use of all animal by-products including clothing (such as wool and silk) household items (beeswax, bone china and down) cosmetic ingredients and more. The actual term “vegan” was defined in 1944 by Donald and Dorothy Watson who founded the British Vegan Society on November 1st of that year. The American Vegan Society was established in 1960.

Recently other definitions have been added to the mix. Almost-vegetarian and Pseudo-vegetarian have been used to describe someone who avoids meat from warm-blooded mammals (beef, pork, lamb, etc) and poultry, but still regularly eats fish. However, by true vegetarian standards they are not. They are called Pescetarians, a term combining the Italian word for fish (pesce) and vegetarian. Raw Foodism, a diet based on uncooked vegetables, fruits, nuts and other food not heated over 104 degrees, can be either vegetarian or not as some who follow it eat sushi, sashimi and other raw meats. Fruitarians take veganism a step further as they will only eat fruits, nuts and other foods that can be harvested without killing the plant. For example, apples and nuts are acceptable as they are picked off a tree; carrots are not as the entire plant is consumed. Certain foods which are considered vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes and peppers are included as they also are grown from the plant.

Macrobiotics is based on eating unprocessed foods like grains, beans, nuts and other raw foods with restrictions on refined products, sugar, additives and chemicals including pharmaceutics. The basics of this diet often cross into vegetarianism, as a lot of the food and philosophy are the same, but as plenty of vegetarians have no problem eating sweets, macrobiotics allow fish and poultry on occasion.

The terms carnivore and herbivore have been used as well, but they do not relate to humans. Carnivores (which include animals such as tigers, lions and like) eat mainly flesh while herbivores (deer, cows and various reptiles) graze solely on plants.

To complicate this more, certain foods are restricted due to religious beliefs – for instance some Buddhists avoid onions and garlic – yet in some Eastern cultures it is completely acceptable to eat cats and dogs.

This post is intended to be a starting point for the uninitiated to understand the basics. For more detailed information, check in with some of the sites located in my links section or consult with your favorite search engine. And, watch for more “educational” based posts in the future.

Book Review: Linda’s Kitchen

Linda’s Kitchen: Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals
by Linda McCartney, first published in 1995

Linda’s Kitchen was the first vegetarian cookbook I ever bought. As I purchased it so long ago, I’m not sure if I bought it before or after I started going veg or if I was attracted more by the Beatles connection. Nonetheless, Linda’s Kitchen is a beautiful cookbook which I refer to often.

One of the most striking things about this culinary collection is the photography. As Linda was a very talented photographer, I could understand her wishing the images be just right. (Take note she did not take the photos herself. From my own experience, food photography is an art within itself and professional looking photos require a specialist along with stylists, lighting designers, etc.)  The recipes are categorized by course – soups, side dishes, main, pasta, rice & potato, etc. – as well as by season. The book also includes a basic Q&A about vegetarian basics, non-meat protein sources and basic nutrition (which helped me a lot back in 1995 as there was minimal internet access then).

As Linda and her family lived in England, the book features vegetarian alternatives for British pub dishes – including Toad in the Hole and Shepherd’s Pie – in addition to international cuisine such as paella, curries, moussaka and dhal.  Italian, Mexican and general comfort food are presented with everyday ingredients with simple directions. Some entries are actually too effortless and obvious like nachos and potato skins.  Others are very heavy with an abundance of cheese, cream and deep frying, but like any other recipe they could be altered to lighter counterparts. I really like the salad section as it offers entries with an interesting combination of fruits, vegetables and legumes.

So if you are looking for a good intro to vegetarian cooking – as this was for me – Linda’s Kitchen is a basic cookbook which will also appeal to non-vegetarians who just want to cut down on meat.  Perhaps Linda used her and her husband’s status to promote vegetarianism as a normal lifestyle through this, which it accomplishes, but in the end you will still find many meatless and tasty options to prepare for anyone.

Here is a video clip with Linda preparing her version of Chilli Non Carne, one of the 200 recipes featured in the book.

Order at amazon.com

Hello World!

It is with great excitement I wish to officially launch Veggies-Rock.com! This webzine / blog has been churning in the back of my mind for a long time, so along with my enthusiasm comes a tremendous feeling of relief and, I confess, a touch of panic. If I had a dollar for every time a friend would ask ‘Where is your website?’ I’d be a wealthy girl, so to finally bring it from plans to fruition is a sign of accomplishment. Yet, even as a seasoned journalist I admit being the master of my own domain is a tad intimidating. I ask for your patience while I work through my fears and mistakes as I discover the wonderful world of blogging. And if you like what you see do not forget to subscribe!

Please visit the “About This Blog” and “More About Me” posts to find out more about what I’m attempting to do here as well as some of the early entries – Just click the menu bar on top! Within a few days I’ll post the first of what will be, excuse the expression, the ‘meat’ of the site with an interview with famed guitarist Steve Vai. Other interviews in the can include other veggie musicians — Steve Howe (Yes/Asia), Eric Johnson and Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy / Dammed Things) — to be posted in the not too distant future. I thank them for their time as it was quite commendable for them to take time to speak with a not-yet-established ‘magazine’ and give it early support.

I also need to thank my friends, peeps and colleagues, especially the ones who consistently nagged me to get this done. I hope your encouragement and guilt will pay off.


More About Me

Imagination… its limits are only those of the mind itself. – Rod Serling

With Paul McCartney… sort of

As far back as she can remember, music and art have been enormous influences in Gail Flug’s life. During her childhood her paintings, photography and writing revolved around musicians she enjoyed, and she turned a hobby into a lifestyle early on. She began by writing a “music news” column for her junior high school newspaper and included original concert photographs of Queen and Cheap Trick in her Regents Art portfolio. It was only natural that this New York native would combine these passions into a career.

While in college, Gail dove into the music industry as an intern at WBAB, a well-known rock station on Long Island. Her experience with radio and journalism landed her a job at CMJ as their first Hard Rock editor. In the years to follow, she was employed in various facets of the industry including promotion, retail, publicity, marketing and management with continued commitments to freelance projects. Gail co-produced Fingers Metal Shop, a renowned show which ran for 20 years on WBAB, as well as compiled their weekly news segment, and she was often heard on the air. She also became a respected, internationally known journalist with articles, reviews and columns published in various consumer, trade and on-line outlets including RAW, Hit Parader, Creem, FMQB, Rip, Faces, Metal Hammer and Metal Maniacs, among others. Many of these contributions included her own photography – a talent which she developed since getting her first Nikon at age 13 – giving her professional another area to work with. A sample of her work can be found within the CD booklet of Visions Of Eden by Virgin Steele. Her liner notes credits include Five Man Acoustical Jam by Tesla and In The Beginning by Angel.

While working in marketing during the last decade, Gail applied her interest in art and advertising to newly acquired computer graphic design skills. Now as a triple threat, she can not only write a feature article or copy for an advertisement, she can provide the photographs and create the layout as well. During the ’00s she had a monthly column in Metal Edge in addition to contributing features and reviews to Cat Fancy, Goldmine, KNAC and Amazon. Gail is always thinking of innovative ways to bring her current project to the public, be it an interesting article, marketing for a band’s new album or an attention grabbing headline or concept for a client’s ad.

With Ronnie James Dio

Another key to Gail’s success is her versatility. Her eclectic taste in music and pop culture, coupled with a knack for remembering interesting facts no matter how trivial, has allowed her to cover assignments across rock subgenres. She feels equally as comfortable writing about classic rock bands such as Foreigner and Peter Frampton as well as hard rock like Bon Jovi and Poison and the heaviest metal like Slayer and Megadeth. She appeared with Metallica during their first ever MTV appearance, has worked as a journalist and publicist and has lost count the number of times she has seen personal favorites like Dio and Iron Maiden in concert.

Gail’s latest venture is a blog called Veggies Rock, a project merging her journalism and photography experience with her design capabilities, coupled with her passion for music, vegetarian lifestyle and love for animals. She is already plotting imaginative and inspiring stories to give it the broadest audience possible.