A Vegan Italian Dinner Spread

Choosing a Vegan lifestyle is not something to be done lightly. It should be a well researched and well reasoned decisions. There is a lot of misinformation from both Vegans and those who are against the Vegan ideology. Here you’ll find evidence based research about Veganism and the impact it can have, as well as some fantastic plant based recipes.

DSCN1780

One of the most important things about cooking good meals for other people is presentation. Not only does it really showcase your great food, it’s really fun to do. Here’s a fantastic Vegan Italian dinner spread that’s fun, filling, and healthy.

I usually use a wheat pasta. Start this boiling before you begin making everything else.

Salads

The salads pictured above are the actual result. To make them, you need the following ingredients.

Red Kale

Romaine Lettuce

Cherry Tomatoes

Small Yellow Onions

Baby Carrots

Sliced White Mushrooms

Sliced Radishes

Soy Pepper Jack Cheese

Toss the kale and the romaine until it’s well mixed and fill your bowls 3/4 of the way up. The rest gets arrayed over the top for presentation, as shown above. These are super easy and taste great. If you want to avoid regular dressing, a little olive oil mixed with garlic, oregano, and basil will do the trick.

Pasta Sauce

Now, the sauce.

2 cans/jars Tomato sauce of choice (Any will do, since we’ll season it and add to it. Cheap sauce is fine.)

1 Large Eggplant

1 Small Yellow Onion

5 White Mushrooms

1/2 Green Bell Pepper

Slice everything into 1/2 in. pieces at the most. Saute them with olive oil or your vegan spread of choice with oregano, basil, black pepper, garlic, and parsley. Slowly heat the sauce in a medium sized pot. Once the vegetables are browned, you can add them to the sauce. The seasonings used there will suffice for the sauce, so you don’t need to season it separately.

Once the sauce is done, to present, put into a sizable bowl and sprinkle black pepper over 1 half and parsley over the other half. It makes it look fantastic.

Once the pasta is cooked (should be about done by now), go ahead and strain, then toss with a vegan butter spread so it doesn’t stick.

Serve with a bread of your choice.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Changing the Conversation in 2014

new-years-hat-752x483

As we enter the new year, let’s take a look back at what the greater discourse has looked like these last few years. It seems that rational discourse has been pushed to the fringe, and the bizarre extremes have become the mainstream. This is a problem, not just for those of us who seek rationality, but for everyone, as it leads to typically poor outcomes. The blame for this lies on the shoulders of everyone, of all sides of the political spectrum, all religious and philosophical ideologies….this is what we need to change.

General Politics

The GOP is no longer the party of conservatism. They’ve been hijacked by the religious far right.

The Democrats are no longer the left. They’ve become centrist at best.

Dems don’t want small government. Neither does GOP. No politician wants small government…because they’d be out of job.

The current discourse about “small government” always revolves around keeping the government out of our healthcare and away from our guns. These are the same people who want the government to regulate what women can do with their bodies and who can get married.

It isn’t an honest conversation.

Our country is suffering while rich white men in Washington squabble about ideologies. Enough is enough. It’s time to tell Washington that we won’t let THEM freeload any longer. They need to do their jobs or lose their jobs. This shouldn’t be negotiable.

End the drone program. Stop spying on the American people. Stop focusing on regulated women and the LGBT community. Let’s work on jobs and the economy.

Gun Debate

The simple fact is that the gun control measures in America need reevaluated. Currently, every time someone says “gun control,” the gun proponents erect a giant strawman that claims the government wants to take away their guns. Many conspiracy theories follow.

With this ideology, an honest conversation is impossible.

What we want are sensible measures to ensure that only responsible, mentally stable, non-criminal citizens have access to firearms. Unfortunately, every time there’s a shooting or the debate is brought up, the NSA muppets make a big fuss and all the gun shops have big sales by claiming Obama is coming for your guns. The ONLY people winning here are the gun companies making a fortune off of your stupidity.

Social Safety Nets and Minimum Wage

The fact that these are such a big conversation amazes me. The biggest uproar I always hear revolves around food stamps. The claim is always about all of these ingrates who are freeloading off of the system and eating up all of our hard earned tax money.

This is dishonest, and takes away from any real conversation to solve the problem of poverty.

In reality, only about 2% of tax dollars go towards food stamps. Only about 10% of those are for people who are not working. The problem isn’t that people are getting food stamps. The problem is that that many working people need them to survive. The problem is the wage inequality in America.

I keep hearing that these people should just get a better job. This usually comes from people who have no idea what it’s like to be unemployed and struggling. Currently, there are 3 job seekers for every open position. More than half of those positions are part time or minimum wage themselves, yet often requiring quite a bit of education and experience. After all, in this market, employers can pay peanuts to massively over qualified people and get away with it.

Again, this is not conducive to an honest conversation.

Gender Equality

Today, we have misogynists calling themselves “Men’s Rights Activists.” These people claim that all feminists want is superiority over men, and that they should be fighting for the rights of men as well. We have feminists who seem to think the movement is about middle and upper class white women marching against “the man.” They seem to forget about the fact that the most discriminated against women are those of minority races in America.

This is hugely detrimental to any honest discourse.

Let me break this down a bit. First, let me address all the Men’s Rights Activists out there. Is forced male circumcision bad? Yep. Should men be able to get paternity leave? Yep. Should men not get put down for deciding to be stay at home dads? Yep. Should feminists be fighting for those things? Nope. Do you know why? That’s not what the movement is about. Should people be fighting for those things? Absolutely. It shouldn’t, however, be done by degrading those fighting for women. Men have always held a place of privilege in America. Fixing the few problems men may face may be your soapbox, but insulting feminists and claiming that feminism is somehow horrible because men may have some problems is sorta like stubbing your toe and telling your friend who had his leg blown off to suck it up because you stubbed your toe. Get over yourselves, please.

Feminism is as essential now as it was when it began. It’s not only essential in America, where most states still allow rapists to sue for child visitation, but worldwide, where women are forced to marry at age 10 and live forcibly veiled for fear of their life. When girls like Malala are shot for the crime of wanting to attend school, feminists need to be a loud voice. All feminists, not just white ones. When the minimum wage workers in America, who need all the help they can get to survive, are all too often women of color, THOSE are the voices that need amplified the most. Don’t forget that we are all in this together.

LGBTQ Equality

Homosexuality does not lead to anything except homosexuality. It isn’t a choice. It isn’t abnormal. It was criminalized, really, until the rise of the Abrahamic religions. In tribal culture and ancient civilizations, it was more often celebrated. “Traditional Marriage” is a myth. Their marriage has no effect whatsoever on yours. The LGBTQ community is also not only gay men. Those against it often focus primarily on gay men. Those fighting for equality often forget their transgender kin.

This thinking is harmful to the overall conversation.

These are people. These are people who were born differently than you. That doesn’t make them an abomination. It makes them people, no different than you. We all live our lives and we all want to be seen as equals. That’s part of what makes America great. Don’t let your fear of the different make you someone who destroys that integral part of our society.

Science and Medicine

Agricultural Biotech, GMOs, are not dangerous. Monsanto is not the root of all evil. Vaccines are not poisoning our youth or turning them gay or giving them autism. “Alternative Medicine” is inherently harmful to the overall understanding of medicine. Natural does not always mean good. Man made does always mean bad.

This is not conducive to honest and rational discourse.

Monsanto is a big corporation like any other. They are good and bad. They also don’t represent the entirety of the biotech industry. There are many types of GMOs. Each has different mechanisms and different technologies. No one has bought the FDA. Most of the things being spread about the industry is purely made of whole cloth. Educate yourselves. If you refer to any effect as from “GMOs” in general, then you don’t understand the technology enough to speak to it.

Vaccines are proven safe. Diseases have been eradicated because of them. A discredited doctor and a playboy pinup queen have no bearing on whether the science is sound or not. They aren’t a money making scam. If anything, the pharmaceutical companies lose money on them. Refusing them doesn’t just affect you. It affects those who cannot be vaccinated for other reasons. There are whooping cough outbreaks all over the country because of this idiocy. Even if you never get flu symptoms, you likely aren’t WHY we need the herd immunity for the flu vaccine. The flue kills mostly the very young and very old. Not getting vaccinated risks that you will be the cause of those types of deaths. Educate yourself. Speak to actual medical professionals, not some “mommy instinct” blog. Those who spread the anti-vaccination fear mongering should be charged with attempted murder, plain and simple.

There is no such thing as alternative medicine. There is proven medicine and there are scams. The “big pharma” that you think is pushing drugs on you to make money while suppressing the alternative miracle cures is the same industry that owns the alternative medicine companies. I hate to break it to you. Dr. Oz and people like that make more money off of your ignorance than pretty much any doctor. Educate yourselves. Too many people die because they choose magic over medicine. Don’t be that person.

Racism

Racism is not dead in America. It many not always be as blatant as it once was, but it’s present. It’s just more insidious now. It’s just as prevalent on the left as it is on the right. On the left, however, it’s very subversive. The same people yelling about equal rights and those damned redneck racists still avoid areas that are mostly populated by people of color. See my post on Passive Aggressive Racism for more details.

Veganism

This one is simple. There are good reasons to be a Vegan. Not everyone is a Vegan. Insulting those who are not vegan and calling them murderers makes you look like an idiot and makes people not want to be associated with you, thus discouraging them from even learning about Veganism.

On the other side, the constant flinging insults at Vegans needs to stop. Yes there is a vocal minority that acts like idiots. Don’t judge the whole by them. In the same way, EVERY movement has extremists like that. You wouldn’t want me to judge yours by them. Offering to eat “insert meat product here” in a Vegan’s honest makes you ignorant, not witty.

Conclusion

No matter what cause is yours, remember, those who fight for other causes aren’t downplaying yours by not talking about it. It just isn’t their focus. That’s not a negative thing. Fighting over it is not conducive to the conversation.

Today, there are allies that are not part of, but still fight for, many causes. Allies, don’t try to take over the conversation. It isn’t your narrative. Those who are of the cause, don’t look at these people with disdain because they aren’t like you. That ideology is why you need to fight for your rights to begin with. Work together. Make a better world.

Change the conversation.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Teriyaki Vegan Protein Stir Fry

Choosing a Vegan lifestyle is not something to be done lightly. It should be a well researched and well reasoned decisions. There is a lot of misinformation from both Vegans and those who are against the Vegan ideology. Here you’ll find evidence based research about Veganism and the impact it can have, as well as some fantastic plant based recipes.

 tahu-tofu

Here’s a fun, quick recipe for people like me who work long hours and have very little time to prepare food everyday. I make a batch of this on Sunday that gives me eight 189 calorie servings which I use for a quick bit of protein throughout the day.

Ingredients
1 Block Tofu
1 Package Tempeh
1 Package Tofurkey Sausage (Italian works fine)
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 Baby Bok Choy
1/2 c White Mushrooms

Cube the tofu and chop everything else into small chunks. Stir fry with a teriyaki sauce of your choice. I use the generic kind with almost zero calories per serving. it doesn’t take much. Portion into 8 even portions in freezer safe containers. Freeze, and eat whenever you need all week long.

Health Content (Per Serving)
Calories 189
Carbs 9
Fat 9
Protein 19

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Rational Vegan Research: Water

Choosing a Vegan lifestyle is not something to be done lightly. It should be a well researched and well reasoned decisions. There is a lot of misinformation from both Vegans and those who are against the Vegan ideology. Here you’ll find evidence based research about Veganism and the impact it can have, as well as some fantastic plant based recipes.

blue_wave_of_water-wide

 One of the common talking points in favor of a Vegan lifestyle is in regards to the water requirements of producing beef.  Let’s look at the facts and see if this argument holds up.

First, let’s get a good idea of how much water it takes to produce beef. To make our calculations easy, and set a good baseline for figuring this out, we’re going to work based on a 1000 lb. steer. Now, most of the Vegan sources I can find claim 7 lbs of feed are required per lb of beef, but they don’t break it down much further, so we’re discard those figures for the moment. I’m going to work on a per day basis first.

Over the course of 1 day, a steer of this size will require 5-60 gallons of water, depending on the temperature. The most common average people use is about 25 gallons across the board. We’ll work with that.

Now, let’s look at feed. This varies based on the type of feed used. If you’re using a higher protein grain, you’ll only need about 5 lbs per day. If you’re using the lower protein forage, you’ll need around 27 lbs per day. 1 gallon of water per day is required to produce 1 day worth of forage feed, however, it only takes 30 days to grow. So, 1 day of feed requires 30 gallons of water. 1 gallon of water per day is required to produce 3 days worth of grain feed, however, it takes 103 days to grow. So, it takes about 34 gallons of water per day to product the grain feed. We’re pretty close here on water requirements per feed type, so we’ll use 32 gallons of water per day for food.

Between food and water requirements, a 1000 lb steer requires around 57 gallons of water each day. The FDA reports that the average time to slaughter a steer is at around 45 months. That will be roughly 1,350 days that you will need to feed and water the steer. So, to bring a steer up to the point of slaughter, we’re looking at a requirement of 76,950 gallons of water.

Ok, that’s a lot of water. How much beef does that produce? Well, since we’re really looking at the commercial farming use here, let’s look at retail cuts. For a 1000 lb steer, that amount to about 430 lbs of beef in retail cuts. That amounts to about 178 gallons of water per lb of beef produced. Wow, that’s even worse than the conservative numbers being used on most Vegan information sites, and I only used mid-range averages.

How does this translate on a national scale? In 2013, there were 29.3 million head of beef cattle in the US. That amounts to about 5.2 billion gallons of water required in 2013 to raise beef cattle.

There are, however, initiatives around the country to reuse wastewater. The tend to yield around 40% reuse for agricultural water. Of the 5.2 billion gallons, let’s be generous and say 3 billion are used for agriculture and we can reuse 40% of that for the next planting. That will leave us with about 4 billion gallons of water required for the year for beef cattle.

The question is, what does this mean? Yes, it sounds like a lot of water, but what effect does that have on anything?

Currently, meat production worldwide consists of 22% of the the world’s water use. At our current rate, we’ll be looking at serious problems with freshwater availability by around 2050.

In the end, the water used for meat production is huge, but it’s not the end all problem. It is, however, something that can be very detrimental to humans in the future, and is worth investigating. Will the solution involve people moving more away from a meat based diet? Will it involve more efficient water filtration techniques? That’s for the scientists that are hard at work on this problem. For me, I’ll simply do my part.

Sources

Animal Nutrition Handbook http://www.ag.auburn.edu/~chibale/an14beefcattlefeeding.pdf

University of Nebraska – Lincoln http://beef.unl.edu/web/cattleproduction/forageconsumed-day

UoN – Lincoln NebGuide http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g331/build/g331.pdf

Noble Foundation http://www.noble.org/ag/livestock/waterconcerns/

Futurebeef http://futurebeef.com.au/topics/nutrition/water-requirements-for-cattle/

Mississippi State University http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2490.pdf

Victoria Department of Environment and Primary Industries http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farming-management/soil-water/water/solutions/how-much-water-do-i-need and http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farming-management/recycling-and-waste-management/reclaimed-water-use-in-cattle-production

University of Georgia http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fieldcrops/forages/Ga_Cat_Arc/2002/july02.pdf

Texas A&M http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/publications/E-273.pdf

University of Idaho http://www.extension.uidaho.edu/drought/irrigatingalfalfa.pdf

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, & Forestry http://www.ok.gov/~okag/food/fs-cowweight.pdf

United States Department of Agriculture http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3062519

Montana State University http://waterquality.montana.edu/docs/irrigation/100bushel.shtml

Washington State University http://css.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Schillinger_WGY.pdf

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/scales/bushels.html

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association http://www.beefusa.org/beefindustrystatistics.aspx

Virginia Tech http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/452/452-014/452-014.html

United States Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/recycling/ and http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/

USGS http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/rt

National Resources Defense Council http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/watersustainability/

AAAS http://news.sciencemag.org/2012/02/agriculture-sucking-fresh-water-dry

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Vegan Chili Recipe

Featurette.Chefs

Like most people, I love good food. I’ve come up some great plant based recipes for a healthy and balanced diet. This is my recipe for Vegan Chili.

Ingredients

1 can condensed tomato soup

1 cup water

1 cup red quinoa

1 can (or bag of dried) dark red kidney beans

1/2 English cucumber

1/2 red onion

1 yellow squash

Chili powder, garlic powder (or garlic pepper), crushed red pepper

Directions

Chop onion, cucumber, and squash to a size of your preference. Mix in a large port with the kidney beans (hydrate them first if dry), tomato soup, water, and quinoa.  Bring to a boil. Once boiling, simmer covered for 2 hrs, seasoning to your preference and stirring regularly. Then, simmer uncovered for 1 hour to thicken.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.