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tweets for 2017-04-26

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

tweets for 2017-03-07

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

tweets for 2016-12-27

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Book Review: The Bone Sparrow, Zana Fraillon (2016)

Friday, November 4th, 2016

A raw, unflinching, powerful, and very necessary book.

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for violence.)

I find my notebook and pencil and I start to write. The letters flow from deep inside me without even a pause to worry about which way is which and where to put what. And my head fills with memories and stories from so long ago that fences weren’t even invented yet. Stories that haven’t even happened yet. Stories that the world won’t see for years and years. All those stories swirl through my head, but I suck them all in and tell them to wait. Because first I have to write the most important story of them all. The story which isn’t even a story. The story that has to be told, no matter how hard it is to tell.

Ten-year-old Subhi was born in an Australian detention center. Originally from Burma (Myanmar), his Maá and older sister Queeny (Noor) were forcibly removed by soldiers, put on a boat and compelled to set sail at gunpoint. His ba, a poet, was imprisoned by the government.

Their offense? Subhi and his family are Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority living in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. In the Author’s Note, Fraillon explains that “the United Nations and Amnesty International have declared the Rohingya to be one of the most persecuted people on earth, and a recent investigation by Al Jazeera News suggested that the government of Myanmar is committing genocide in its treatment of the Rohingya. The Rohingya are being hunted into extinction.”

For the past decade, they’ve been in limbo: unable to return to their native country, but unwelcome where they washed up. Like the United States, Australia has a policy of mandatory detention; refugees are treated much like criminals.

In order to keep his mind from turning to “mush,” Subhi clings to stories – the familiar, well-worn tales of his family, and new ones belonging to the nine hundred other refugees who live in the detention center alongside him. Especially cherished are those stories dreamed up by his ba; stories of the Night Sea, which sometimes washes over Subhi’s camp as he dreams, leaving cryptic treasures in its wake: A small statue of a knight. A little blue toy car. A sketch of a thousand birds in flight. A green coin rimmed with black smudges. Subhi believes that these are messages, sent by his ba – and that, one day, he’ll come in person to rescue them from this non-existence.

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Book Review: Children of the New World: Stories, Alexander Weinstein (2016)

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

“a comeback story without a comeback”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through Goodreads.)

We were like babies. Like Adam and Eve, some said. We reached out toward one another to see how skin felt; we let our neighbors’ hands run across our arms. In this world, we seemed to understand, we were free to experience a physical connection that we’d always longed for in the real world but had never been able to achieve. Who can blame us for being reckless?

(“Children of the New World”)

Publicly, we sold memories under Quimbly, Barrett & Woods, but when it was just the three of us, working late into the night, we thought of ourselves as mapmakers. […] Here was the ocean, here the ships, here the hotel, here the path that led to town, here the street vendors, here the memories of children we never had and parents much better than the ones we did. And far out there was the edge of the world.

(“The Cartographers”)

It’s not often that I’m so truly and hopelessly blown away by a collection of short stories. Anthologies with multiple contributors are almost always a little choppy, and even those written by a single author tend to be a mixed bag. But Alexander Weinstein? He works some serious magic in Children of the New World.

The thirteen stories found within these pages are beautiful, imaginative, and deeply unsettling. Together, they create a portrait of a future beholden to technology: where consumers willingly and happily abandon memories based on fact in favor kinder, gentler fictions; where humans rarely leave the virtual world, let alone their houses; where people fornicate like mad but reproduce through cloning – and sometimes even programming. Where lovers can peel back all their layers – metaphorically and literally – and grant their partners access to every fleeting thought, emotion, and memory. Where even the apocalypse is powerless to break the hold that mere things – Lego toys and Kitchenaid mixers – exert over us.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2016-09-10

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Book Review: The Many Selves of Katherine North, Emma Geen (2016)

Friday, July 8th, 2016

How do you say “AMAZING!!!” in bottlenose dolphin?

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. This review contains clearly marked spoilers.)

One. Mustn’t trust humans too much.
Two. I know what they can be like.
Three. I was one once—

How can they sell Phenomenautism as image and experience? How can they sell it at all? A Ressy isn’t a consumable. Phenomenautism is meant to consume you.

Buckley always said that reading is the closest an ex-phenomenaut can get to wearing another skin.

The year is 2050, or close enough, and while humans aren’t yet locomoting via our own personal jet packs, we have developed all sorts of cool technology. Chief among them? Phenomenautism, which involves projecting one’s consciousness, using a neural interface, into the bodies of other animals.

At just nineteen years old, Katherine “Kit” North is the longest projecting phenomenaut in the field, with seven years under her belt. She was recruited to join ShenCorp – whose founder, Professor Shen, all but invented phenomenautism – when she was a kid. Kit’s Mum was a zoologist and her father, a wildlife photographer, so an affinity for our nonhuman kin runs in the blood. Kit works in the Research division, inhabiting the bodies of nonhuman animals to aid outside companies and nonprofits with their research; for example, as a fox Kit helped track the local population for a cub study orchestrated by the Fox Research Centre. She’s been a bee, a whale, a polar bear, an elephant, a seal, a mouse, a spider, a octopus, a tiger, and a bat, not to various species of birds. Very rarely does she get to be herself – although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nor is she quite sure what that means anymore.

ShenCorp is the only company to employ children exclusively, owing to their superior brain plasticity, which aids in adapting to the new bodies (“Ressies”) they inhabit during jumps. As Kit watches her friends and peers disappear, one by one – let go for poor performance – she worries for her own future. When she’s hit by a car inRessy – destroying the body and ending her study prematurely – termination seems imminent. Yet instead of a pink slip, her boss offers her a promotion, of sorts: to the new Tourism division, where the “animal experience” is sold to regular folks – for a hefty sum, natch. Kit finds the idea of Consumer Phenomenautism repugnant … yet not quite as bad as giving jumping up altogether. Kit accepts, unwittingly stumbling into a corporate conspiracy that runs far deeper that she imagined.

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet, H.P. Wood (2016)

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

An Entertaining Coney Island Mystery With a Side of Social Commentary

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for racist/sexist/ableist language and sexual harassment.)

May 1904. Coney Island’s newest amusement park, Dreamland, has just opened. Its many spectacles are expected to attract crowds by the thousands, paying back investors many times over.

Kitty Hayward and her mother arrive by steamer from South Africa. When Kitty’s mother takes ill, the hotel doctor sends Kitty to Manhattan to fetch some special medicine. But when she returns, Kitty’s mother has vanished. The desk clerk tells Kitty she is at the wrong hotel. The doctor says he’s never seen her although, she notices, he is unable to look her in the eye.

Alone in a strange country, Kitty meets the denizens of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet. A relic of a darker, dirtier era, Magruder’s is home to a forlorn flea circus, a handful of disgruntled Unusuals, and a mad Uzbek scientist. Magruder’s Unusuals take Kitty under their wing and resolve to find out what happened to her mother.

But as a plague spreads, Coney Island is placed under quarantine. The gang at Magruder’s finds that a missing mother is the least of their problems, as the once-glamorous resort town is abandoned to the freaks, anarchists, and madmen.

(Synopsis via Goodreads.)

Everything about the Cabinet is grimy and fusty and strange. Nazan smiles. It’s everything she’d hoped it would be. It’s perfect.

Along the street comes the clip-clop of distraction. Spencer recognizes the tinkling bells of Children’s Delight—a portable fourseater carousel pulled along by a fine white horse. The Children’s Delight was such a part of his childhood; he and Charlie used to search for it on every family visit to Coney. What a relief that some things never change. And yet. A young girl with pigtails, no more than ten years old, sits atop the cart. It is packed with corpses.

2015 saw the publication of so many wonderful carnival- and circus-themed novels that part of (me the bookish part) was sad to see the year end. There was Kristy Logan’s The Gracekeepers, in which North and her bear cub traverse the sea (which now covers most of the planet) with their circus troupe on the Excalibur. Leslie Parry’s Church of Marvels follows Coney Island sideshow performer Odile Church as she travels to Manhattan in search of her sister, who fled The Church of Marvels when it burned to the ground, taking the sisters’ mother – and their livelihood – with them. In The Book of Speculation, Erika Swyler weaves an imaginative tale about a librarian named Simon who comes into possession of an old book – a circus ledger dating back to the 1700s. Only by unraveling its secrets can he lift the curse that’s plagued his family for generations. And then there’s Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers, a retelling of Romeo & Juliet featuring two rival families of performers, the Palomas (mermaids) and Corbeaus (tightrope walkers/tree climbers). Last but not least is Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie, an “accidentally vegan” tale that features cryptids, hybrids, and shapeshifters, which quickly became an all-time favorite.

While this year doesn’t seem quite as rife with carnies and “freaks,” I was overjoyed to see early copies of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Woods and Juliette Fay’s The Tumbling Turner Sisters on NetGalley. I’m also eagerly anticipating the release of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval in early 2017.

Anyway, the point is that I have a soft spot for stories starring circus performers, and H.P. Wood’s Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet is a welcome addition to the genre. Of all the books I mentioned, it shares the most in common with Church of Marvels: set in a similar time period (1895), it too features a distraught young woman scouring New York City for a missing loved one in the wake of a personal tragedy.

Set in 1904, Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet involves an outbreak of the pneumonic plague, a pack of wayward leopards, a mysteriously vanished Englishwoman, and a corporate and political conspiracy. At the center of it all is Theophilus P. Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet, a dime museum located on the “wrong end” of Coney Island. While the dusty old museum doesn’t see much traffic, the basement bar known as Magruder’s Unusual Tavern serves as a gathering place for Coney Island’s extended family of “freaks” – or Unusuals, as they like to call themselves. (By the same taken, “normal” people are “Dozens” – as in “a dime a.”) When Unusuals and Dozens alike start dropping like flies, Magruder’s becomes the base of operations – and, when the quarantine threatens to rip Coney Island apart, Magruder’s is their last stand.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2016-06-04

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

This Week in Pictures: The Bee’s Knees

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-07-26 - Rennie, Mags & a Gecko - 0014 [flickr]

Mags, helping me test out a parasheet blanket I received for review.
She either really loves it or is rilly rilly hot. Or most likely both.

2015-07-26 - Dogs Outside - 0010 [flickr]

Mags, Finnick, and Rennie take turns rolling in … something.
It’s not poop, which is all I need to know.

 
— MONDAY —

2015-07-27 - Hand-Feeding Mags - 0009 [flickr]

Mags makes me feed her all her meals by hand, preferably while lying on her blanket in the office. I’m just a step or two away from chewing up her kibble and regurgitating it into her mouth, mama bird styley.

2015-07-27 - Hand-Feeding Mags - 0004 [flickr]

Aaaaand she’s such a slow eater that we tend to draw a crowd.

2015-07-27 - Hand-Feeding Mags - 0005 [flickr]


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The Rat Terrier Review: Waterworld

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

2015-06-27 - Morning Walk at Smithville Lake - 0032 [1024x768 2 water paper]

So remember how last week Peedee had his one-month follow-up x-ray? We finally heard back from the oncologist on Thursday, and her assessment is a little more guarded than our general vet’s. The tumor’s not much larger, which we already knew; but one of the (many) areas of cancerous cells looks a little more advanced. The fluid in his lungs seems to be holding steady, and there’s also a little calcium buildup around the tumor, which suggests that his immune system is trying its best to fight it off. The oncologist is still sticking with her original two- to three-month estimate, although now she’s leaning toward three months. Which means two now, since a month’s already gone by. BUT WHO’S COUNTING? (A: Me, that’s who.)

It’s not the worst news we could have gotten, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping (against my better judgment, natch) for a slightly more positive outlook. Cancer’s tricky, though; it’s always subject to change. The cancerous cells that haven’t yet amassed into tumors could prove more or less aggressive than the tumor – or each other. The tumor might not grow any larger, but the other cells could eventually pose a problem; there’s only so much room in his lung, you know? There’s just no telling how it might progress. All we can really do is take it week by week, I guess. Next x-ray is three weeks from now. Fingers, crossed. But cynically.

2015-06-20 - Watchdog Peedee - 0002 [flickr]

2015-06-25 - Peedee - 0003 [flickr]

On a brighter note, we started him on a few new supplements this week. In addition to the cannabis oil he’s been getting, Peedee’s now on Beta Glucan and Curcumin, both of which supposedly have cancer-fighting properties. Beta Glucan is also purportedly good for the immune system. Nutritional yeast is a good source; since I use it in the dogs’ food and peanut butter balls, I went with a mushroom-derived version of Beta Glucan when choosing the supplement. idk if there’s any difference, but a little variety can’t hurt.

Anyway, on to happier things. It’s still raining buckets in Missouri, hence the subtitle of this week’s Rat Terrier Review. We went on tons of walks, many of which necessitated my giant (and hot! like damn are those things suffocating!) rubber muckracking boots.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2015-06-19

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Book Review: Diverse Energies, Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti, eds. (2012)

Monday, February 9th, 2015

A Strong Collection of Diverse Dystopian Stories

four out of five stars

No one can doubt that the wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed, but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men. No one can doubt that cooperation in the pursuit of knowledge must lead to the freedom of the mind and freedom of the soul.

– President John F. Kennedy, from a speech at University of California, March 23, 1962

Maybe your claim is that Dungeons & Dragons is based on a fantasy feudal Europe? Maybe your game is, but the whole point is that you can make whatever game you want; a diverse cast in your illustration just encourages that. And for that matter, are you seriously telling me that you think having a person with darker skin is somehow more of a strain on your suspension of disbelief than…a lizard lady or a devil dude?

– Mordicai Knode, writing for Tor.com, April 11, 2012

Inspired by online discussions of diversity in literature (see, e.g. RaceFail 2009), Joe Monti and Tobias S. Buckell set out to create a diverse anthology of dystopian stories that feature people of color and LGBTQ protagonists: “not a brick thrown at a window, [but] the continued paving of a path” – a path toward stories that reflect the entire spectrum of the human experience. Diverse Energies is a wonderful step in this direction – and yet, six years later, the continuing debate about representation in books, movies, video games, and other forms of media (most recently, via the We Need Diverse Books campaign) underscores the fact that there’s so much work yet to be done.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2014-11-25

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

tweets for 2014-10-02

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Book Review: Feed (The Newsflesh Trilogy #1), Mira Grant (2010)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

BRILLIANT!

five out of five stars

“The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we had created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.”

Two-thirds of the news team which will eventually come to be known as “After the End Times,” adopted siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason are used to chasing danger. (Although, as an Irwin, Shaun is much more accustomed to poking dangerous things with sticks than his Newsie sister.) Together with Fictional-slash-tech whiz Georgette “Buffy” Meissonier, as well as a supporting cast of countless beta bloggers, the After the End Times crew is devoted to pursuing the truth at any and all costs. When their team is selected out of hundreds (thousands?) of other bloggers to accompany moderate Republican Senator Peter Ryman as he embarks on his presidential campaign, some of them will be asked to pay the ultimate price, as the friends are unwittingly thrust into a shadowy conspiracy to steal the presidency, terrorize the populace, and engender fear to facilitate the hijacking of the Constitution.

Feed is unlike many zombie stories I’ve read of late – most notably because the zombie menace seemingly takes a backseat to political intrigue, assassination attempts, and other human-created threats. And yet I don’t quite agree with other reviewers who claim that this isn’t a zombie story.

Kellis-Amberlee – so named for Dr. Alexander Kellis, the scientist whose cure for the common cold was prematurely unleashed on the world by well-meaning “ecoterrorists,” and Amanda Amberlee, the first child to see her cancer cured via infection with the Marburg EX19 virus (when combined, the viruses unexpectedly caused the dead to rise) – colors every aspect of this world. While the survivors are mostly able to insulate themselves from the zombie threat, it comes at a great price: large public gatherings are a thing of the past; dating mostly happens online (and it’s a wonder that reproduction happens at all); privacy is sacrificed for safety at almost every turn; and people no longer have the ability to move about freely. Huge swaths of the United State are restricted, open only to those with a certain level of safety training. Kellis-Amberlee primarily causes conversion in the dead – but everyone is infected with varying levels of the virus, and spontaneous reamplification among the living and otherwise healthy is rare, but possible. The virus has effectively isolated humanity from itself. Everyone is suspect; no one can be trusted.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2013-12-11

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Book Review: UR, Stephen King (2010)

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

All things serve The Tower (even Amazon!).

four out of five stars

A self-described “old schooler,” English professor Wesley Smith has finally decided to make the plunge and buy a Kindle. Not because he’s been seduced by its convenience, ease of use, or environmental friendliness; rather, Wesley’s purchase is one driven by spite. Recently dumped by girlfriend Ellen Silverman – a fellow faculty member at Kentucky’s Moore College and coach of the women’s basketball team – Wesley means to show his ex that he’s not nearly as inflexible and resistant to change as she thinks he is. Hence the new “gadget.” But what arrives in the mail – overnight delivery, nonetheless! – isn’t the white Kindle that all the kids are carrying around. Wesley’s Kindle is pink.

The differences aren’t merely aesthetic. Poking around – “experimenting with new technology,” as it were – Wesley discovers a beta program called “Ur.” Through it, he’s able to access multiple worlds – millions of them – each stocked with its own unique library. In one Ur, Edgar Allen Poe lived well past the age of 40 and became a novelist; in another Ur, Wesley finds four “new” Ernest Hemingway novels, penned during the “extra” three years of the writer’s life. As jarring as Wesley’s weird pink Kindle may be, its expanded library’s main danger lies in its addictiveness, particularly to bibliophiles such as Wesley: in his quest to download and read his favorite authors’ “lost” works, Wesley transforms into an obsessed insomniac overnight. And who could blame him, really?

(More below the fold…)

Scallion Pancakes, straight from The Chinese Vegan Kitchen!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

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Donna Klein’s latest cookbook, The Chinese Vegan Kitchen, drops today (the kids are still saying this, yes?), and the folks at Penguin USA were nice enough to offer me a copy for review!

Even though I’ve been cooking from it like a wild woman (exhibit A: my flickr stream), I’ve still got a list of “must-try” recipes a legal pad long: Pot Stickers with Cabbage and Shiitake Mushrooms. Classic Chinese Pancakes. Fried Basmati Rice with Black-Eyed Peas and Wanuts. Tibetan Lentil Soup. Chinese Potato Salad. Shanghai-Style Noodles with Green Onion Sauce. Chinese Sweet Walnuts. And yes, Scallion Pancakes! (My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it.) I keep meaning to make these, but forgetting to budget the extra time required to let the dough rise. Bulbs!

To celebrate the book’s release, Penguin offered up a recipe – really two in one! – from The Chinese Vegan Kitchen. Scallion Pancakes with a Garlic Chive–Ginger Dipping Sauce, yum! Go make a batch and save some for me? I’ll be over here holding my breath, kay.

If you’d like a copy for your own bad self (or maybe for a friend or relative – x-mas is fast approaching, yo!), The Chinese Vegan Kitchen is available via Penguin USA for $18.95. Penguin also published many of Klein’s past cookbooks, including The Tropical Vegan Kitchen, The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, Vegan Italiano (want!), and Supermarket Vegan. Be adventurous and do a world tour!

 

Scallion Pancakes

I adore these savory pancakes. Serve them with soups, stews, and salads to create a light supper, or use them as a bed for your favorite stir-fries and tofu dishes in lieu of rice or noodles.

Makes 4 pancakes; 8 to 12 appetizer servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
ÂĽ teaspoon table salt
1 cup just-boiled water
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus additional, as needed
1 tablespoon toasted (dark) sesame oil
½ cup thinly sliced scallions, green parts only
2 tablespoon black or regular sesame seeds, toasted, if desired (optional)
1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Garlic Chive–Ginger Dipping Sauce (below)

In a large bowl, combine the flour and table salt. Slowly add just-boiled water in a steady stream while stirring constantly in one direction with a wooden spoon (to keep bowl in place, wrap a kitchen towel around the bottom). When the flour absorbs the water and cools, knead the dough with floured fingers directly in the bowl into a slightly sticky ball. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest 30 minutes. Alternatively, combine the flour and table salt in a food processor fitted with the knife blade; with the motor running, slowly add just-boiled water and process until a slightly sticky ball forms. Transfer to a large bowl and knead briefly with floured fingers. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and sesame oil. Set aside.

On a lightly work floured surface, roll out dough into a thin rectangle, about the size of a standard baking sheet. Brush on oil mixture; sprinkle evenly with the scallions, sesame seeds (if using), sea salt, and pepper. Starting at one long side, carefully roll up the dough to encase the filling. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll and stretch each piece into a longer cylinder. Take one piece and twist in 3 places, keeping the filling in place; reshape into a cylinder. Coil each piece to form a spiral, pinching end in to keep in place. Press spiral with your palm to flatten it; using a rolling pin, roll out into a pancake 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Repeat process with remaining pieces.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a large nonstick skillet, heat ½ tablespoon of remaining canola oil slightly above medium heat. Working with 1 pancake at a time, place pancake in skillet and cook until golden, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining canola oil and pancakes, adjusting the heat as needed.

Cut each pancake into 6 pieces. Serve immediately with Garlic Chive–Ginger Dipping Sauce on the side.

Per serving (per ½ pancake without sauce): Calories 176; Protein 3g; Total Fat 7g; Sat Fat 1g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 24g; Dietary Fiber 1g; Sodium 335mg

 
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VeganMoFo, Day 22: The New Four Food Groups (A Tutorial)

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

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So the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine – PCRM for short – has introduced their own version of the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid, called The New Four Food Groups. (Actually, they created the guide way back in 1991 – when vegetarianism was just a niggling feeling worming its way up through the depths of my conflicted brain – but that’s neither here nor there. I just happened to discover the guide today, and that’s what counts. Particularly since I’m running low both on time and VeganMoFo post ideas!)

Naturally, PCRM’s reconstruction of the USDA’s food pyramid eliminates all animal-based products, instead focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes:

Many of us grew up with the USDA’s old Basic Four food groups, first introduced in 1956. The passage of time has seen an increase in our knowledge about the importance of fiber, the health risks of cholesterol and fats, and the disease-preventive power of many nutrients found exclusively in plant-based foods. We also have discovered that the plant kingdom provides excellent sources of the nutrients once only associated with meat and dairy products—namely, protein and calcium.

The USDA revised its recommendations with the Food Guide Pyramid, a plan that reduced the prominence of animal products and vegetable fats. But because regular consumption of such foods—even in lower quantities—poses serious health risks, PCRM developed the New Four Food Groups in 1991. This no-cholesterol, low-fat plan supplies all of an average adult’s daily nutritional requirements, including substantial amounts of fiber.

Specifically, PCRM recommends that you eat the following, along with “a good source of vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals or vitamin supplements”:

Fruit: 3 or more servings a day

Fruits are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Be sure to include at least one serving each day of fruits that are high in vitamin C—citrus fruits, melons, and strawberries are all good choices. Choose whole fruit over fruit juices, which do not contain very much fiber.

Serving size: 1 medium piece of fruit • 1/2 cup cooked fruit • 4 ounces juice

Vegetables: 4 or more servings a day

Vegetables are packed with nutrients; they provide vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, fiber, and other nutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens, chicory, or cabbage are especially good sources of these important nutrients. Dark yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin provide extra beta-carotene. Include generous portions of a variety of vegetables in your diet.

Serving size: 1 cup raw vegetables • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables

Legumes: 2 or more servings a day

Legumes, which is another name for beans, peas, and lentils, are all good sources of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. This group also includes chickpeas, baked and refried beans, soymilk, tempeh, and texturized vegetable protein.

Serving size: cup cooked beans • 4 ounces tofu or tempeh • 8 ounces soymilk

Whole Grains: 5 or more servings a day

This group includes bread, rice, tortillas, pasta, hot or cold cereal, corn, millet, barley, and bulgur wheat. Build each of your meals around a hearty grain dish—grains are rich in fiber and other complex carbohydrates, as well as protein, B vitamins, and zinc.

Serving size: 1/2 cup rice or other grain • 1 ounce dry cereal • 1 slice bread

Apropos last week’s discussion of how one can obtain adequate amounts of protein on a low-budget, cruelty-free diet, note that the only “faux” “meat” or dairy item PCRM mentions by name is soy milk: no Fakin’ Bacon, no Daiya cheese, no Purely Decadent ice cream. Instead, many of the foods touted by PCRM are relatively inexpensive: pasta, cereal, millet, chickpeas, beans, broccoli and melon. You can even grow items from two of the four groups in your own backyard and eat them raw! While not exactly free, it’s hard to get any less expensive than homegrown.

PCRM also produces a weekly webcast devoted to the dietary and health aspects of veganism. The most recent three episodes examine “The New Four Food Groups” in greater detail; so far, fruit, vegetables and grains have received their due, with an episode devoted to legumes forthcoming. I’ve embedded each after the jump.

Now go forth and veganize, my frugal grasshoppers!

(More below the fold…)