Monday, June 30, 2008

It's Kind of Easy Being Green

June 30, 2008
The Charmed Monday Minute

Hello, all –

I was inspired to the hilt at last week’s Vegetarian Summerfest (happening again in July ’09 at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown – Much of the information in this issue of The Minute comes from what I learned there.

The main thing I got at the conference was that the environmental crisis is real and urgent. It’s not just global warming, but also that we’re in this planet’s 6th great extinction – and this one we have a hand in. If things continue at this rate, 50% of the plant and animal species with whom we share the earth today will be gone by the end of this century. (Parents: Give this a minute to sink in.)

Every step any of us can take toward going green is so crucial and so worth doing. It’s no longer an edgy thing or an optional thing or a part-time hobby; it needs to be central to the way we live. We can make it a chore or an adventure: I’m all for finding the delight in compact fluorescent bulbs, putting my groceries in canvas bags, shopping at farmers’ markets and eating locally and organically as much as possible, driving a hybrid for now (and going carless in NYC in a few months), and eating a vegan diet. Send your suggestions for going green to and they’ll find their way into future Minutes.

As we approach the 4th of July, I want to take this opportunity to hold each one of you in the spirit of independence. May you be independent: free from addictions and entanglements, free in your thinking and in your choices, an independent and co-independent person, standing on your own and working with others to make life better for us all.

All good things,

Dairy and Ovarian Cancer

“For each serving of dairy products, especially low-fat and fat-free ones, which a woman consumes on average each day, her risk of getting the most common, and most deadly, form of ovarian cancer goes up by 20%.” – Dept. of Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; reported in the International Journal of Cancer, June 2004, vol 110 (2), pg. 217.

For more on this issue, visit (Thanks to George Eisman, MS, RD for this information.)

Recipe of the Week

I met Linda Long, a food stylist, photographer, and complier of a fabulous (and beautiful) about-to-be-published cookbook, Great Chefs Cook Vegan, coming in September but available now on preorder from Amazon. Long challenged the most highly regarded chefs in America to come up with the ultimate in plant-based dishes. The results are exquisite recipes and an exquisite volume. Here’s a yummy candy sample:

Mignardises – by Charlie Trotter and Matthias Merges
(yields about 80 ½ tsp. pieces)

1 cup raw cashew butter (you can buy this at the health food store, or purchase raw cashew pieces and make nut butter from them in a Champion or GreenStar juicer or, if you’re willing to scrape the sides of the bowl periodically, in a Cuisinart—vm*)
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. vanilla seeds, scraped
1 Tbls. nama shoyu (raw soy sauce – at health food stores)

Combine well in a food processor. Pour into shallow container, cover, refrigerate 4 hours. With a melon baler, scrape chocolate truffle mix into small balls. Fill or roll pieces with cocoa, spices, cayenne pepper, mint, nuts, seeds, sugars, dried fruit or zests, shaping a desired.

On the radio

My guest last week on “A Charmed Life” on was Sera Beak, author of The Red Book and expert on spirituality for young women (and the rest of us). The show is archived, as are all editions of “A Charmed Life” at Click on my picture or the name of the show and listen to the program with Sera or any past show. Guests have included Jerrold Mundis, author of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously; Gene Baur, co-founder of the first sanctuary for farm animals and author of Farm Sanctuary: A New Ethic on Animals and Food; Jennifer Cornbleet, chef and author of Raw Food Made Easy for One or Two People; and my wonderful action partner, singer Sherry Boone (

Quotation of the week

“It has never before been possible for an individual of ordinary intelligence and modest means to so powerfully affect the course of human history.” – James LaVeck,