What I’m Eating: A Week of Vegan Food

In all my years of blogging about vegan food, creating and sharing recipes, writing restaurant reviews, I have never participated in any kind of a What I Ate Wednesday link up or written any thing like Lindsey’s Weekly Eats posts. And as those of who you read my blog, and my history of “series failures” know, it may be a while before you see another post like this. But, as I sat down to write today, I just kept thinking about all the awesome vegan food that I’ve eaten in the last week and I felt like I wanted to share.

I made the most delicious tofu scramble the other day. I’ve written (frequently) about my love of tofu scrambles, and I’ve posted several recipes (here and here). This time I winged it, keeping it very simple and it turned out great.

week of food

In a nutshell: One block of firm tofu, drained. Break it up with a fork (so that it looks like scrambled eggs). Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon celery salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and a little pepper. Adjust to your taste. Chop up 1/2 onion, 1/4 yellow or orange pepper, 1 potato, and 1 or 2 Serrano or jalapeno chiles. Cook in a little olive oil over medium heat, until the onion is soft and the potatoes are slightly browned. Stir in the tofu mixture and cook, stirring frequently until the tofu is heated through. Reduce heat and cover. Cook over low heat until the potatoes are cooked. Add a little vegan cheese and re-cover until the cheese is melted. Serve with tortillas, avocado, salsa, etc.

Vegan food

Last night I made tempeh burgers. Nothing especially fancy or different about them but they were very good. I served them with baked potato and zucchini fries.

vegan food

My variations on my shawarma recipes are always a hit in our household. This week I made it with seitan, served with quinoa, hummus, and pita breads.

vegan food

I also discovered Nuttzo! I’ve been using heart healthy Nuttzo all week instead of my regular peanut butter. All the nuts and seeds used in Nuttzo are organic, there are no added sugars, and two tablespoons of the healthy fat in Nuttzo provide 50% of the daily allowance of Omega 3 ALAs. I am pretty boring with my breakfast food, but I’ve used Nuttzo in protein shakes, slathered it on bananas and on my morning toast or muffins all week.

vegan food

I’ve already written about the restaurants where I ate last weekend, so I’ll skip the review and just give you the food porn.

We took out food from Native Foods in Encinitas:

vegan food

vegan food

We had lunch at Earth Bistro in Temecula:

Earth Bistro

vegan food

And breakfast at the Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar:

vegan food

vegan food

What kind of delicious food have you eaten in the last week? Dish! (haha, see the pun?)

Disclosure: I was given a jar of Nuttzo to try and review. All opinions are my own.

We Have a Right to Know! GMOs in Our Food

On November 6, Californians will have an opportunity to vote on an initiative that can potentially have an impact on our health, our children’s health, and our environment. The initiative is called the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012, and it requires that food sold in California retail outlets (not restaurants) must be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients.

Even if you don’t live in California, please read on, as we hope that this is just the beginning of a groundswell of voters in this country working to take control of their health and assert their right to know what’s in their food.

I, along with other bloggers and news sources, was asked to join the CA Right to Know Label GMOs Evangelist Team. Our goal is to get the word out about the need for the CA Right to Know Initiative, and to let Californians know that we have a chance to have a say in our health by demanding (voting) that we are told what is in our food.

First a little information. The subject of genetically engineered food is very complex, and to completely understand the implications and risks, I would require much more space than I have here. I hope only to pique your interest, to send you on your own quest for information, and to take the first steps toward protecting your family’s health by becoming an informed consumer.

What is Genetically Engineered Food?
A genetically engineered food, also called a genetically modified organism (or GMO), is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature. Today, as much as 85% of corn and a majority of soy in the U.S. is genetically engineered to either produce its own pesticide or withstand increased amounts of weed killer pesticide. The FDA is currently considering approving a GE salmon that has been altered with an eel gene to promote faster growth. Source

How do I Know if I’m Eating Genetically Engineered Food?
You don’t. Most of the processed foods we eat and feed our children contain genetically engineered ingredients, but we have no way of knowing which because these foods aren’t labeled. Source

Is Genetically Engineered Food Safe?
The risk of genetically engineered foods is unclear. Unlike the strict safety evaluation required for the approval of new drugs, the safety of genetically engineered foods for human consumption is not adequately tested. Studies show that genetically engineering food can create new, unintended toxicants and increase allergies, and other health problems. In 2011, Canadian researchers reported that 93% of pregnant women’s blood and 80% of their fetal cord blood samples contained a toxin found in a genetically engineered corn that produces its own pesticide (Bt corn). Source

The U.S. is the only developed country that does not require safety testing of genetically engineered foods. Our government leaves it up to Monsanto and other chemical corporations to decide whether or how they genetically engineer food, without conducting any health studies and without notifying consumers. Source

Are My Kids Eating Genetically Engineered Food?
The sad truth is many of the foods that are most popular with children contain GMOs. Cereals, snack bars, snack boxes, cookies, processed lunch meats, and crackers all contain large amounts of high risk food ingredients. In North America, over 80% of our food contains GMOs.  Source

What Are the Most Common GMOs?
The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini and yellow). Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the foods in your pantry.

GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products. Source

Are You Scared Yet?

If not, watch the following video. It is long, but it is so important to hear Robyn O’Brien’s story of how she went from a Wall Street career, to stay-at-home Mom, to a Real Food Evangelist.

If you’re like I was when I first started researching, you are probably shocked that there is no requirement that consumers be informed about genetically engineered food. After all, 50 countries, with more that 40% of the world’s population already label genetically engineered food. Even China labels genetically engineered foods. Source

So why are we not being told? Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public.  Source

Consumers have a right to know what’s in the food we buy, eat and feed our children, just as we have the right to know how many calories are in our food, or whether food comes from other countries like Mexico or China. The same goes for whether our meat, dairy, fruits, or vegetables are genetically engineered in a laboratory. We should all be able to make informed choices, and have the freedom to choose whether to buy genetically engineered food or not. Source

Have I convinced you? Are you now asking, “What can I do?

First of all, read, research, click the links in the post, learn what you can about the health effects of genetically engineered food. There is no such thing as too much information.

Here is a list of high risk and monitored crops.

Buy organic when you can, but realize that although GMOs are excluded under the National Organic Program, organic certification does not require GMO testing.

If you’re in California, you can vote for the California Right to Know Initiative on November 6.  Update! As I am writing this post, I just received an email to let me know that the Initiative has a number. Please, for the health and safety of yourself and your family, Vote Yes on Prop. 37!

You can follow @carighttoknow on Twitter. You can tweet: Yes on Prop 37! Consumers have the right to know about #GMOs. #CARightToKnow #LabelGMOs #YesOn37 http://bit.ly/yeson37

You can like Carighttoknow on Facebook. You can share this post with your Facebook friends: Big News! @California Right To Know is Proposition 37 on the November ballot! On November 6th, vote YES on 37. We have a fundamental right to know what’s in the food we eat & feed our families, so we can make informed choice. The measure requires genetically engineered foods and ingredients to be labeled in California. Read more here: http://bit.ly/yeson37

You can click on the link below for more information about the Initiative:

If you are also a blogger, you can join in the fight by clicking here.

If you’re not in California, you can still involved. The Non-GMO Project is a nationwide, non-profit organization that provides North America’s only third-party labeling and verification for non-GMO products and food. Again, education is the key. Spread the word. Be an activist. When people understand the potential risks associated with genetically engineered food, 90% support mandatory labeling. Together we can be stronger than the lobbies.

I know this was a long post, but I hope that you’ve read every word, clicked through to each link, watched the whole video, because this is important to all of us and to our children.