Friday, March 25


That's the question some people like to bring up about animal testing - after all, "a cure for cancer" is the holy grail of both science and rhetoric, used as a trump card in many hypothetical scenarios across many topic areas. But what if it's already here, it's just a cure people don't want to take? There is at the very least some interesting anecdotal evidence that might make the more serious-minded among us take a closer look at that question.

In the story "Heather: Vegetarian diet saved me from cancer" we hear that "Heather Mills McCartney claims a vegetarian diet may help cure cancer. The former model has joined husband Sir Paul in extolling the virtues of a meat-free lifestyle." She relates that after trying all sorts of drugs to treat her condition, "In desperation, I went to the States. The moment I arrived they took me off all my medication... Just 10 days of a strict vegetarian diet, wheatgrass juice and placing garlic poultices on my wound (Owwww!) and I was healed - as were scores of people around me, from addicts to cancer sufferers and non-insulin dependent diabetics." She added: "I managed to stay meat and fish-free for years. When I briefly went back to eating it, it coincided with my contracting cancer of the uterus. I vowed from then on that vegetarianism was the healthy lifestyle for me."

Thursday, March 24


"San Diego State's Entrepreneurial Management Center hosted its 16th annual Venture Challenge last week at the Mission Valley Hilton. This competition offers graduate students the opportunity to present business ideas for cash prizes," notes the Daily Aztec. SDSU's team, Believables Corporation, walked away from the competition with the Showstopper Award. Believables intends to start its business in the near future: "Believables plans to build a chain of quick-serve restaurants offering a completely meat-free menu," Blake Travis, vice president of marketing for Believables Corporation, said. "We will be the first to successfully transition the meat-alternative food category from the retail food channel to the quick-serve industry through a chain of restaurants that appeal to nearly 100 million health-conscious Americans."

Wednesday, March 23


Well, not Dr. Atkins himself, of course - he's no longer running anywhere after *cough* slipping on that ice. But the company that bears his name, knowing that the jig is up and that the recognizble name is all it has going for it, is holding onto that precious name while changing the basis of the diet itself. As this widely reproduced article puts it, Atkins Nutritionals, which championed a dieting craze that made millions of Americans shun bread and other carbohydrates, wants a do-over. Lots of good lay-it-on-the-table quotes in this latest saga: food analysts "say the bloom is off the rose for low-carb names like Atkins, as consumers have dismissed it as a fad that got rid of weight at first, but was unsustainable." And Bob Goldin of the food industry research firm Technomic notes that "What Atkins is saying is that this is the new way of doing things, which is the same as saying the old way wasn't that good." And in this piece on the company's embarrassing liquidation of its British subsidiary ("following poor sales"), Sian Harrington of the food trade magazine the Grocer sums up the elemental story: "Once they started trying to flog their own products, consumers asked whether it was a money-making machine rather than a proper diet." Gee, ya think?

UPDATE: I guess it's official now: "Ding dong, the craze is dead."

Tuesday, March 22


I'd like to see this promotional video that Leo DiCaprio was introducing today as part of "an international campaign to draw attention to the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who don't have access to clean water." It boggles the mind how people can scratch their heads about what to do about this when there's one overwhelming source of not only needless freshwater consumption but staggering water pollution worldwide. Maybe, just maybe, the video spends more than 2% of its running time on this key enemy of clean water.


Remember, even when you don't see it on the front pages, contaminated meat is out there doing its day-to-day job of sickening people. Like this 12,090 pounds of Chicken Dumplings, the 1,120 pounds of Cooked pork products or the 5,760 pounds of Chicken Products, all recalled for Listeria - or, oddly, the 123,000 pounds of Ground Beef recalled for being contaminated with "hydraulic fluid." Of course there are plenty of smaller recalls, but it's worth noting that this alone is 71 tons of bad meat just over the past month and a half.