The Viva Vine: vol #6, no #1: January / February, 1997


Heart Disease        E.coli        Whole Foods        P.E.T.A.: faux milk-mustache campaign

Heart disease: a rising threat and sign of the times

death w/ sickle & hourglass
A report issued by the World Health Organization last fall projected that heart disease, the number-one cause of death in the rich countries of the world for decades, would be the number-one cause of death in the world at large by 2020, overtaking infectious diseases, such as pneumonia.

Could the global spread of the standard American diet, symbolized by those ubiquitous golden arches, have something to do with this unhappy trend? We're only asking.
person running from death

E. coli: not just for meat eaters anymore


Last autumn, as skittish turkey preparers were just beginning their annual flood of calls to the USDA's safety experts (see story on page 9), vegetarians and natural-foods enthusiasts received their own little frisson of food anxiety. Following an E. coli bacteria outbreak that afflicted 66 people-most of them children-and killed one child in Denver, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began considering regulations that would require all apple juices, and possibly other fruit juices, to be pasteurized, according to AP wire reports.

And how did the deadly bacteria make it into otherwise wholesome apple juice? One possibility is that some of the apples used might have fallen from orchard trees into cow or deer feces. Though the phenomenon remains rare, other cases of produce-linked food poisoning have raised concerns about uncooked organic fruits and vegetables. As an AP article from November noted, such produce is "often...fertilized with cow manure, even though E. coli flourishes in cattle."


Nutrients in a bottle-not. Whole foods-yes.


We all know by now that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains helps prevent cancer of the colon and rectum. But can the same effect be gained from vitamin pills and fiber supplements? A study appearing in the December issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests not. In the study, the patients whose large intestines were free of benign polyps (from which most colorectal cancers develop) were, as one would expect, the veggie eaters. However, the specific levels of such putative cancer fighters as fiber, beta carotene and vitamin C in the patients' diets did not seem to be the crucial factor. In a Reuters report, John S. Witte, an author of the study, observed that "there may be a whole-food effect"-that is, nutrients acting not merely one at a time but in concert. Though Mother Nature was unavailable for comment, we suspect she'd say, "I told you so."

sickly cow, tongue hanging out, milk, yuk!


PETA to sabotage milk-mustache contest


Milk marketers are sponsoring a national milk mustache contest for people who haven't heard that milk is linked to cataracts, diabetes, acne and upset stomach. As Food for Life co-author Harvey Diamond puts it, "The list of ailments that can be linked to dairy products is so extensive there is hardly a problem that it doesn't at least contribute to."

Enter: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They've decided to spearhead a campaign to "flood" (read: taint) the contest with entries from vegans sporting their best mock-milk mustaches (Tofutti "cream cheese" works great!). They suggest you grab your vegan friends and get those creative juices flowing. "Let's win this one for the veal calves whose milk is stolen for supermarket shelves," they proclaim.

There are four categories: male adult, female adult, child (12 and under) and group (two or more). Enter your name, address and phone number on a 3 x 5 card, enclose a receipt* for a gallon of milk (purchased by a neighbor, hopefully) and send it off to: Fujifilm Milk Mustache Contest, P.O. Box 8061, Grand Rapids, MN 55745-8061 (MN is correct). Entries are due January 31. Enter often, but with one entry per envelope. Contact Bruce Friedrich, PETA's vegetarian campaign coordinator, at 757-622-7382, ext. 342 for additional details.

*No receipts are necessary in AZ, FL, KS, MD, MN, WI or VT

Copyright © 1997. The VivaVegie Society. All rights reserved.
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