Going Veg in 2011: Helpful Resources & the Blizzard Duck Rescue

Happy New Year. Hopefully 2011 is your year to go (more) plant-based vegetarian for your health, for the environment & or for the animals. No matter what your motivation, there are numerous resources available to help you:
First off, me! I’m a nurse certified in Plant-based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, Cornell University and eat totally plant-based myself. It is within my nursing scope of practice to counsel people how to eat a healthy diet. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains & legumes & no animal products, can help ward off heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure & cancer. Please feel free to contact me: 732-446-6963 foodforlife@aplnj.org

If you have a specific medical condition, then I suggest checking out The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (pcrm.org) to read their nutritional recommendations for specific diseases: http://www.nutritionmd.org/consumers/index.html You might consider consulting a (vegan) RD for an individual dietary plan based on your diagnosis, blood work & medical history. RDs (Registered Dieticians) are legitimate licensed nutrition professionals who have to pass state boards. They are required to put in a certain number of clinical hours in order to practice. RDs, like nurses, must continually obtain Continuing Education Credits in order to retain their license. The American Dietetic Association (the RD national organization) recognizes plant-based vegetarian eating as a healthy diet for all ages, from infants to seniors. VegFamily.org lists several vegan RDs.

Here’s an easy & delicious soup I made over New Year’s weekend. I never cooked yellow split peas before. Making it will help tone your arms as there is some rigorous grating required! Gingered Yellow Split Pea Soup (from The Vegetarian Shabbat Cookbook)


Olive oil, 2 ribs celery, chopped fine, ½-1 t. grated fresh ginger, 1 lb. yellow split peas, rinsed, 5 cups water, 1 cup grated parsnips, salt to taste.

1. Lightly oil a large soup pot. Sauté celery & ginger for 3 minutes.

2. Add split peas & water, bring to boil. Lower heat & let simmer about 20 minutes.

3. Add parsnips, bring water back to boil, lower & simmer, cover, cook for another 20 minutes or till peas are soft.

4. Test for taste. Add more water & or ginger if necessary.

Serves 7-8

Lastly, to encourage you to not buy or wear down or feathers, here is yet another duck story: We got a call in the office about 2 domestic, flightless ducks living at a frozen pond in Manalapan. The morning of the blizzard I went there armed with my huge net, aviary netting, a carrier & the knowledge that if I didn’t catch them, they’d freeze to death or a predator would certainly make a meal of them. Long story short, after they decided the middle of the frozen pond was too scary, they (luckily) ran into some brambles. It was snowing already. I covered the bushes with the aviary netting, crawled inside & grabbed them. Two women at the complex held down the netting.

Hershey & Godiva are 2 adorable chocolate brown female Campbell ducks. They were dumped at this pond after last Easter. People probably feed them stale bread--not good food for ducks. Just like abandoned dogs & cats, abandoned domestic ducks need human care, specific food, shelter & love. Hershey & Godiva are with me now & enamored with Jacque Cousteau, a partially blind male Campbell duck I took in the same week. He sports a tilted tuft of feathers on his head like a beret. Jacque was slated to be killed at a shelter that claims to be a “No-Kill” shelter…

My point is, as in my two previous blogs (Taking a Gander at Foie Gras & 3 Good reasons not to buy down: Thelma, Louise & Howard), ducks & geese are sentient animals deserving of our concern & care. In 2011, please stop buying products with down & feathers & definitely don’t eat foie gras--ugh! Now, to find permanent homes for these sweet birds… Happy New Year.

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