Monday, July 26, 2010

Veganism Wins Wars

Last night I picked up a sandwich from Candle Cafe for dinner. Candle Cafe is the casual dining sister to Candle 79, and happens to be on 3rd Avenue and 75th, ironically just steps from one of the best burger places in the city, J.G. Melons. I got the Cajun seitan and mixed vegetables, and it was quite tasty. I am sure that a person with a knee-jerk aversion to veganism would find this sandwich delicious and filling. I actually thought there was too much balsamic on it. It is truly amazing how much my taste buds have changed to prefer plant-based foods grilled, but without any additional dressing, or oils (something I had to have on when eating vegetables in the past).
Today I was unable to go to my Monday training class in the park, and went to the gym later in the evening. Although I had a decent work out, it is clear that I am more effectively pushed, and find greater joy from working out with a trainer in our group. I just can't get enough of that long lost team effect that I had no idea I missed!

Being a collector of books I recently picked up a science book from 1946 -- "Our Environment and How We Use and Control It." I immediately flipped to the section on foods and was surprised how accurate it was in describing the proper foods for fueling our bodies. Obviously, more advanced information has made this 64 year old book generally dated, but not totally obsolete -- it still provided accurate information about food that was made before the scourge of processed and chemical-laden foods.

One thing I found fascinating was this:

1946 Text Book

Boys, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 2600-3800
Girls, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 2400-3000

2010 Medical Recommendations

Boys, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 2200-2500
Girls, Age 14 -- ideal daily caloric intake: 1800+

So, there is an enormous increase in calories that is recommend for teens in 1946 versus today, and I can only assume since teens were in superior shape back then compared to today it is the result of the sedentary lifestyle of today's 14 year old, compared to those in the immediate post-war period that needed more calories.

I must point out one laughable photo showed a navy flight officer getting his eyes tested with the literature saying how war experimentation discovered that eating carrots improves vision at night. This is a text book! In fairness, with all the beta carotene and Vitamin A in carrots it helps your vision stay strong, but certainly does not improve it. As far as improving it at night that comes directly from the propaganda of the British during the war. They invented a type of radar that were able to shoot down German planes at night. But, they put out this "research" over the radio about carrots improving night vision as the reason for their nocturnal success rate to befuddle the Third Reich. Well, not only did that propaganda make it into an American Science book, it is commonly accepted even today! Two years ago at the fantastic British War Museum in London I stumbled upon a class of 3rd Graders getting a lecture. When the docent asked them who has heard that carrots help you see at night nearly every hand went up - amazing. An urban legend for kids that I think should survive into perpetuity.

However, all that war chicanery aside -- eat your carrots! Not for your vision, but for your health!

1 comment:

Vegan Epicurean said...

I agree with you on the reason the recommended calories for kids have fallen so much. Today's teens are tied to video games, computers and cell phones rather than out being active.

Impressive command of WWII trivia. I grew up hearing that story from my father but thought I was the only one. ;-)

I think we are all amazed by how our tastes change the longer we eat this way. At least I know the same thing happened at our house.