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Vegetarian Journal Cover

Vegetarian Journal


July/August 1996
Volume XV, Number 4

Note from the Coordinators

Reaction to Mad Cow Disease

Debra Wasserman
Charles Stahler
The spring of 1996 may be remembered as a time in which the world reacted in horror to the "mad cow disease" occurring in England. We're certain many Vegetarian Journal readers have heard friends and colleagues state that they will no longer eat red meat due to this scare. We listened to this comment over and over again the month after news about the brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) hit North American newspapers, television sets, and radio talk shows. All this publicity led to an even larger demand for vegetarian literature from our office.

One can't help but wonder why this particular disease over others caused such a negative attitude towards red meat. Perhaps humans fear brain disease over heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses often equated with poor dietary practices. There's an abundance of scientific evidence demonstrating that high fat diets can lead to sickness. In North America much of this fat comes from consuming animal products including meat and dairy products.

This issue of Vegetarian Journal covers a wide range of topics from how to prepare both Japanese and Caribbean-style vegan cuisine, to cooking with edible flowers and dining in Prague. We also present an article on vegetarian diets and cancer treatment. Since the formation of The Vegetarian Resource Group, we have received numerous inquiries concerning vegetarian diets and heart disease. The past year we've seen a huge increase in the demand for information on vegetarian diets for individuals undergoing cancer treatment. This treatment may include either chemotherapy and/or alternative therapies. Our aim here is not to suggest one form of treatment over another, but rather to assist the patient in following a vegetarian or vegan diet during their illness.

Also featured in this magazine is our Guide to Fast Food. Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D., offers readers ideas on how they can follow a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and dine in fast food chains. There are times when we all find ourselves driving along a highway and can only locate fast food restaurants. Immediately, most of us panic thinking that we'll starve to death in these establishments. More often than not, vegetarian choices are limited. If you are concerned about your fat intake, the food options become even smaller. Dr. Mangels spent a great deal of time obtaining nutritional data on the food being served in fast food chains. The task was difficult, but nevertheless we offer some suggestions. Canadians should be aware of the fact that French fries served in Canadian McDonald's restaurants are pre-fried in beef tallow. In the United States, McDonald’s uses fries that are pre-fried in vegetable oil.

Finally, on a personal note, we'd like to dedicate this issue of Vegetarian Journal to the memory of Norris Fluke. Norris was a dear friend of ours and one of the original founding members of this organization. His volunteer assistance, enthusiasm, and positive outlook on life will be greatly missed.

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler
Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group

This article originally appeared in the July/August 1996 issue of the Vegetarian Journal. We encourage you to subscribe to the magazine.

Thanks to volunteer Jeanie Freeman for converting this article to HTML

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September 20, 1997

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