Posts Tagged ‘ vegan ’

Are M&M’s Petroleum-Based Food Dyes Really “The Finest Ingredients”?

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

I want to show you something funny.

For Valentine’s Day, you received a bag of M&M’s. On the bag, Mars makes a point to say they only use “the finest ingredients.”

Um… are petroleum-based artificial food dyes honestly “the finest ingredients” they could find? Because, I’m thinking, what about using plant-based ingredients, like Kroger’s brand, Simple Truth, uses?

I would think plant-based coloring would be better than petroleum-based dyes, but maybe that’s just me.

Or maybe it’s not…

Actually, petroleum-based artificial food dyes are banned in other parts of the world, because people are more aware of the health problems these dyes can cause for children.

I wonder if the petroleum melts in your stomach, not in your hands?

By now, you’ve accepted the fact that you’ve got the male-version of Food Babe for a dad.

By the way, Food Babe is the mom and food blogger who is known for calling out companies for the unnatural ingredients they put in their food- especially when it’s food that is aimed for kids.

She was the one who started the petition to try to get Kraft to stop putting petroleum-based dyes in their macaroni and cheese; pointing out that the European version of Kraft mac-and-cheese does not contain these dyes, which are linked to hyperactivity in children.

Food Babe has also called out General Mills for using GMOs in their cereals, while they claim their product is “natural.” GMOs are not natural.

Another thing she did was highlight the fact that artificial vanilla flavors are made from a certain gross part of a beaver. Back when I first pointed this out two years ago, people questioned it. Of course, now, that post of mine has received over 2600 “likes” on Facebook.

Especially with Food Babe’s credibility on the subject, people are starting to believe it as fact, not urban legend.

Oh, and I can’t forget about Subway with the “yoga mat” chemical (azodicarbonamide) in their “fresh” breads…

So because I follow her blog, she has basically trained me to point out peculiar wording on food products.

She had a pretty cool blog post for Valentine’s Day. She used out the same concept I am showing you here today about M&M’s, but with another candy company that leads people to think that their product is truly worth paying premium price.

Food Babe clearly shows that Godiva’s ingredients are not better, in the areas it should matter.

The point isn’t that you should never eat M&M’s or Godiva chocolate. The point is, I am teaching you to question where your food comes from.

It might keep you from wasting money on “the finest ingredients.”





Food Babe Photo and Chocolate Chart, courtesy of Food Babe.


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Photobombed By My Own Kid

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Look at this picture… You totally photobombed me!

“Photobombing is the act of inserting oneself into the field of view of a photograph, often in order to play a practical joke on the photographer or the subjects.” -Wikipedia

I am pretty sure you were being sneaky; totally knowing what you were doing.

Here lately, I have been posting pictures of our “plant-based meals” on Facebook, as my way of showing the outside world what we eat.

Because, hey, I was always curious what vegans ate before I came one.

It’s by no means intended as a way to “convert” anyone to my lifestyle. I do it more as a way for people who are already curious and open-minded to learn more.

I’ve had several Facebook friends tell me that they enjoy and appreciate the insight I give them on this kind of stuff. That’s who it’s intended for.

Granted, I do this also expecting some funny comments from any Facebook friends who might be… how should I put it?…


Like when I posted a picture which half-jokingly referred to myself as a “lentil and potatoes” kind of guy. (As opposed to a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy.)

I actually consider it bonus points when I can get friends and family to say “GROSS!” or say something like, “That looks good, but sure would be better with some bacon!”

I get it that our family eats from a different menu than the mainsteam, but instead of keeping quiet about it as to not offend those who are not curious, I like to sort of meme the situation.

In a way, my goal is to invite the skeptics to laugh with me (about my seemingly obscure food choices); as I try not to appear like I’m wanting to impose my beliefs on the mainstream.

Because, again, in reality, it’s the curious minority of society who I actually am trying to reach, not the majority.

So somehow the supreme irony in all this is that you, my son, have actually photobombed my Internet meme!

I ended up not even using that picture for my “project” after I realized what you did.

Actually, I can’t look at you smiling so proudly in that picture without laughing quietly to myself.

Good job, Son. Well done.

That’s okay…

I got even with you by making a captioned photo of your chocolate almond milk mustache.










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No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls… Jealous Much?

Friday, February 7th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

I think I might be over cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, now that Mommy has introduced our family to “no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls.”

She found them on a website called, Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl, which is apparently orchestrated by an 18 year-old girl from Norway.

(That’s the country where your great-grandfather on Mommy’s side was adopted from, by the way.)

So, it’s official: These no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls are awesome!

Not only are they pretty easy to make, considering you don’t even cook them, but they taste so good that they are extremely addictive.

However, the ingredients are healthy and simple: 

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • a pinch of maldon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped 70+% dark vegan chocolate (or use vegan chocolate chips)

So I kind of think these might be our new family favorite treat.

They’re mainly sweetened from the dates and “fattened” by the cashews; which provide less than 1% of the daily recommended amount of cholesterol.

Remember my theory on consuming more than 0% but less than 1% cholesterol?

“Being a vegan means your cholesterol intake is more than 0% (from good fats, like avocados, cashews, coconuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc.) but less than 1% (because of no animal fats). I think part of the reason vegans feel so much better after nixing animals products is because they are no longer experiencing another living (at one time) animal’s cholesterol and fat running through their veins.”

Like most food that Mommy and I approve of for our family, these no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls are better when made by us… not bought pre-made and packaged from a store.

Having a fun (and delicious!) recipe like this makes it even more fun and special to be a plant-based family. Like I’ve said before, it’s not about what we can’t eat, but about what we can!

We get to enjoy this secret dessert snack recipe that hardly anybody else knows about. It’s not the kind of thing a person would normally think to make or eat, but when you rule out animal products from your diet, you (are forced to) discover new foods that you actually like better than what you were eating before.

I’m contrasting this recipe against any token grocery store cake, or boxed cake mix, made with food dye from petroleum and/or bugs, along with a whole paragraph of unpronounceable ingredients.

Yeah, that’s not food.

This is!

I’ll take no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls anyday! But, shhhh… we’re adopting them as a secret family recipe now- thanks to an 18 year-old girl in Norway named Solveig Berg Vollan!






P.S. Click right here for the full recipe featured on Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl!

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Daddy, Is Ice Cream Healthy? And Cookies, Too?

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Last week your teacher at school introduced you and your classmates to a new concept: that not all food is healthy.

Since then, you have been asking me if every single food item you can think of is healthy or not.

“Is ice cream healthy, Daddy?” you genuinely asked me.

The same happened about cookies, too.

You later asked me about cheesy crackers, though you didn’t bother to ask about cake. However, for some reason, you’ve yet to ask me if vegetables, like broccoli and carrots, are healthy.

I snapped a few shots of your health-related project at school.

You had to decide which pictures, cut out from magazines, best resembled the kinds of foods we regularly buy each week when we get groceries, by placing the cut-outs in a paper sack.

I had to laugh at yours, compared to your friends.

Yours was so… politically correct, as the token vegetarian kid of the class:

Bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples. That’s it and that’s all.

What I learned from this is that you are definitely paying attention when Mommy and I pick out the fruits and veggies at Whole Foods. Beyond that? Not so much.

You didn’t choose pasta, bread, beans, or rice, which are all staples in your diet. Just bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples.

I’m pretty sure you were the only kid to not include meat in your brown grocery sack.

But with your selection, you made it look like our family is a bunch of fruitarians.

(Yes, that’s a real thing! And yes, technically, bell peppers and tomatoes are considered fruits, depending on who you ask.)

One day you’ll fully understand what meat is. All you know is that the other kids at school eat it but you don’t- you either get soy butter or veggie patties instead- which you love, by the way.

You always think I’m joking when I try to explain what the butchered meat is at Whole Foods. You ask me each week, ‘Daddy, what’s that red stuff?”

But hey… as long as we’ve got bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples, though; that’s apparently all we need anyway.




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The Reluctant Leader And The Science-Minded Handyman

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

There are some awesome children’s toys from the Eighties that just never really went away… fortunately.

Like Tranformers, Care Bears, and Smurfs.

But the ones that you are most excited about right now are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Nonna and Papa got you a nearly life-size Donatello for Christmas and he has become like My Buddy, an Eighties toy that didn’t survive, to you.

I haven’t asked my parents why they chose Donatello for you; after all, I was never too crazy about him when I was a boy.

Michaelango was the obnoxious one. Donatello was the forgettable one. Raphael was the emotional one. And Leonardo was the leader. That’s how I always perceived them, at least.

But when I really thought about it, Donatello is perfect for you! Because if you were a Ninja Turtle, that’s exactly who you’d be:

As the original theme song simpy explains, “Donatello does machines.”

You have the technical mind that I don’t. While I can easily take something apart, you’re going to be the kind of guy who can not only take them apart, but also put them back together.

Where as I definitely fall short in having the handy man mindset, you’ve always showed me signs of it. Plus, you are smart. As for me, I tend to just “fake it ’til I make it.” I graduated with a degree in English simply because I wasn’t good enough or focused enough on anything else.

A lot of people think I’m smart, but I’m not. I’m just clever and determined; and there’s definitely a difference!

The reason Donatello was “the forgettable one” for me while growing up was because he was the one I least related to.

My favorite Ninja Turtle was always Leonardo, the reluctant leader, like Jack Shephard on Lost.

Sure enough, I took this “Ninja Turtle Personality Quiz” on and confirmed what I already knew. I am Leonardo, the reluctant leader:

“You’re aggressive, but not in an overbearing manner. You’re known for being very organized and helpful. You’re very practical and there as a friend, while being relatively low maintenance and asking for little in return. People see you as a leader. Unfortunately, you weren’t elected to that position, and some resent you for being kind of a control freak.”

Meanwhile, here’s what the quiz said about Donatello, who I think you are:

“You’re very meticulous and scientifically minded. You excelled at academics and that’s transferred into your current career. You’re very loyal, inoffensive, and reliable. However, you can also be aloof and so wrapped up in what you’re doing that you neglect your social and familial obligations.”

Going back to my own “Leonardo personality,” earlier this week I happened to read part of a book called Eat Right 4 Your Type.

It explained that people who are have Type A blood (like me) actually make for the best vegans (interesting!) and it also said Type A blooded people also tend to have the “Reluctant Leader” complex; naming former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon as examples.

(I’m guessing this applies to several classic Bible heroes, too; like Noah, Moses, and David.)

The findings of both the Ninja Turtle quiz and the Blood Type quiz simply confirm what every other personality quiz I’ve taken has always said: I am your reluctant leader.

My whole life, I have had to be a leader in some compacity. I always find myself becoming the leader of the group, by default, never by choice. It happened every single time in school where I was part of a group project, in every place I’ve ever worked at, and with family dynamics, as well.

Even now, I never intended to make this such a teachable moment. I meant to just write about your new favorite Ninja Turtle doll.

Get used to it, I guess. After all, I am Leonardo and you are Donatello.





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