Monday, February 10, 2014

Thai Sweet Potato Burgers with Spicy Peanut Sauce


Let's kick off the day with a question that I frequently hear when discussing dinner.

     "If you don't eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy...  What the hell do you eat?"

I try not to proselytize or advertise my dietary preferences ad nauseum, but if people are curious about what's on the menu or simply want some information, I'll talk.  When they find out that I try to avoid animal products around 95% of the time, they're often left astounded, bewildered, and scratching their heads...  wondering how it's possible that I haven't yet wasted away to a meager pile of flaccid skin and brittle bones.

     "What do you eat, then?  Sticks...  twigs...  tree bark?  Do you forage in the forest?  Do you eat tree mites"?

Some of these questions are quite outlandish, but not entirely unexpected, given what we've been conditioned to believe constitutes a complete meal in this country.  From the moment we came stampeding forth from out mothers’ wombs, we've been brainwashed to believe that a complete meal contains a huge hunk of meat in the center of the plate, a small side of steamed, soggy vegetables, another small side of potatoes or rice, and maybe a tiny green salad.

I should know, as I happily ate this way for years.

Don't forget the milk.

We all know that our nutritious meal wouldn't be complete without a tall, frosty glass of milk.  Science (i.e. the dairy industry) has shown that if we skip milk at dinner, we put ourselves at immediate risk for fracturing every bone in our body before dessert even hits the table.

     "Do you just eat green salads all day?”

I try to eat at least one large green salad or green vegetable every day (Dark, leafy greens are one of the safest, most plentiful source of calcium available - by far).  But that barely scratches the surface.

     "What the hell do you eat?"

Believe it or not, my current diet is actually more diverse than ever, as I've been able to try an incredible number of foods that I'd never before considered.

And so begins a new trend...  Starting today, I'm going to make a slightly greater than half-assed attempt to update the blog more frequently by posting pictures, descriptions, and recipes (if possible) detailing our evening meal, in hopes of reassuring inquiring minds that those of us who avoid animal products are not depriving ourselves and truly enjoy our food.

So let's get started.


     "I thought you didn't eat meat."

*Male piglets are castrated at a young age
without anesthesia.  This is why pig testicles
may be less likely to make it into
your sausage patty.
We don't.  Who says that a burger has to be made out of beef?  I didn't say hamburger, did I?

Actually, why do we call it hamburger when ham actually comes from pigs?

A hamburger implies that the patty in question is made of pig muscles, pig bones, pig nostrils, pig vaginas*, feces, antibiotics, flu viruses, and other items commonly found in ground pork.  To avoid confusion, we should refer to traditional hamburgers as ‘beefburgers’.  That way, the consumer knows that the end product in their supermarket meat department labeled as such contains ground up cows, horses, euthanized dogs and cats, chickens, turkeys, blood, and feces.

But, I digress...

The burger you see in the picture below is a Th--


Yes, that's right.


Yes.  Yes it is.  In his book Mad Cowboy, former cattle rancher Howard Lyman describes the $2.4-billion-a-year rendering industry, in which all varieties of dead animals are ground up and processed, and used to enrich livestock feed:
When a cow is slaughtered...  the intestines and their contents, the head, hooves, and horns, as well as bones and blood...  are dumped into giant grinders and rendering plants, as are the entire bodies of cows and other farm animals known to be diseased...  Another staple of the renderer's diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets - the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year.  The City of Los Angeles alone, for example, sends some two hundred tons of euthanized cats and dogs to a rendering plant every month.  Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and roadkill.  (Lyman 11-12)
So what happens to this putrid mess of filth anyways?  Lyman continues:
When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter, fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in such products as cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles, and waxes.  The heavier protein material is dried and pulverized into a brown powder - about a quarter of which consists of fecal material.  The powder is used as an additive to almost all pet food as well as to livestock feed.  (Lyman 12)
But wait.  There is some good news:
In August of 1997, in response to the growing concern about the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (or Mad Cow disease), the FDA issued a new regulation that bans the feeding of ruminant protein (protein from cud-chewing animals) to ruminants; therefore, to the extent that the regulation is actually enforced, cattle are no longer quite the cannibals that we had made them into.  They are no longer eating solid parts of other cattle, or sheep, or goats.  (Lyman 12-13)
Wow, that's a relief.  But don't get too excited:
They still munch, however, on ground-up dead horses, dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, as well as blood and fecal material of their own species and that of chickens.  (Lyman 13)
Pretty cool, huh?

Now that we've learned something new, we can play a fun game called "Journey from Dumpster to Burger", in which we trace a batch of discarded chicken wings tainted with E. Coli along the man-made factory-farmed food chain, until they eventually end up in your dinner...
...from the dumpster behind the chain restaurant...  to the hungry raccoon who scavenges for his dinner...  to the rendering plant where the raccoon was sent after becoming roadkill...  to the pet food factory in the form of brown, fecal powder...  to your dog Rex's dinner bowl...  to the vet where poor Rex was euthanized a week later after incurable food poisoning...  back to the rendering plant to be processed into brown, fecal powder...  to the factory farm as part of 'enriched' livestock feed...  to the stomach of the cow that was slaughtered to provide you with that delicious bacon double cheeseburger that sits before you on a plate next to a towering pile of french fries...
But enough already.  The burger you see in the picture up above is--


Relax, would you?

As long as you cook your Rexburger to 160 degrees, you'll probably kill around 97% of any lingering pathogens, toxins, and disease.  And stop interrupting me.

Think you're better off eating chicken because it might be safer?  Think again. 

Check out this video courtesy of, in which Foster Farms' reaction to possibly infecting and sickening over 10,000 people with its feces-infested chicken is basically a great big, "WHATEVS!"

The burger you see in the picture way up above is a Thai Sweet Potato Burger with Spicy Peanut Sauce.  Instead of pig vaginas*, the primary bulk of the patty is made from sweet potatoes, chick peas, and good old-fashioned rolled oats.  Throw in some cilantro, basil, cloves, and ginger for your spices, along with moistened flaxseed for binding purposes, top it off with a tangy peanut sauce, and you've got yourself a delicious plant-based burger.

The recipe comes from the Oh She Glows blog, courtesy of Angela Liddon.  If you're interested in becoming more familiar with plant-based cooking, Angela's blog is a great place to find hundreds of delicious recipes.

Click HERE for the link to the recipe on her blog.

On this particular evening, we enjoyed our burgers with a garlic-Brussels sprout sauté and homemade steak fries.

I know, I know.  You've already got your next question locked and loaded.

     "No meat?  But where do you get your protein?"

Relax.  Plants have plenty of protein, and I have no problem meeting my daily requirements.  Let's take a look at the complete nutritional profile of my dinner, which included two burgers on kaiser rolls, a big helping of Brussels sprouts, and a pile of steak fries.

The program I used to analyze my feast is called the Cronometer, and a free version is available HERE online.

The first screen below includes a list of everything I devoured at dinner.  One cool feature of the Cronometer is that you can create your own recipes and save them for future use.  In the case of these burgers, I added all of the ingredients to the Cronomter, and saved it as a full recipe.  Since we were able to get six large burgers out of the full recipe, I simply figured that my two burgers were equal to 2/6 of the full recipe...  or 1/3.  My Brussels sprouts were sautéed with garlic and green onions, and I ate the equivalent of 2 large potatoes worth of steak fries.

Ingredients...  (Oh $h!t, I forgot to list the kaiser rolls.  Oh well...  )
Protein - including breakdown of amino acids

How did I fare with my protein intake?  Take a look at the above chart.

In just one sitting, I amassed almost 45 grams of protein, which figures out to be around 70% of my target goal based on my body weight.  You may be wondering why some of the amino acids listed above are showing up as 'No Target'.  Out of the 19 amino acids listed above, only 11 are considered to be essential...  that is, we cannot manufacture them on our own and must obtain them from the food we eat.  The remaining can be made within our bodies as needed.

Just for fun, let's look at the remaining nutritional analysis of my dinner:

Carbohydrates and Lipids

Vitamins and Minerals

Apparently, I don't appear to be lacking in most of the essential vitamins and minerals (save for Vitamin D and B12, which is not alarming).

What's more, check out my calcium intake of 261.7 mg.  That's over 25% of my daily requirements.  How is it possible that I managed to scrounge up over 250 mg of calcium without ingesting even an ounce of dairy as part of my meal?

Actually, it's pretty simple if you just sit back and think about it rationally.

Calcium, like all other minerals, comes from the ground...  from the dirt...  from the earth.  All of the crops, plants, and greens that we grow absorb calcium from the soil.  In turn, when we eat those plants, we ingest that calcium and use it as needed.

Where do you think cows get calcium, anyways...  the fucking dairy aisle at Wegmans?  Does Farmer Brown open up the barnyard cheese bar at six o'clock sharp and round up the bovine herd for their evening calcium fix?

Cows actually get their calcium from the ground when they eat plants.

Like all other mammalian herbivores on this planet, cows drink milk exclusively from the teats of their own mothers, getting just the right amount of calcium to grow large enough until they wean.  After weaning, they never drink any milk for the rest of their lives.  But somehow, they manage to get enough calcium from the plants they eat to grow to a full adult weight of 1,600 to 2,300 pounds.

Let me pose another question.

When was the last time you saw a teenage rhinoceros stampeding frantically through the woods after a lactating coyote in an attempt to get a few extra squirts of milk because it was worried about osteoporosis?

We get deer in our backyard quite frequently.  Whenever they congregate during their meal time to nibble compost and birdseed off the ground, I don't ever witness any adolescent woodchucks hopping up and down beneath their undercarriages, trying to latch on to any swollen deer mammaries that may have been ripe and ready to flow.

Humans are the only species on this planet who drink the milk of another after the weaning period.  No other species even drinks the milk of their own after weaning.

When compared to the lengthy duration that we've occupied the planet, the amount of time that we've spent relying on the milk of other species is actually quite minuscule.  True, we gradually adapted to be able to drink milk, but this was simply as an evolutionary survival mechanism during times when food, energy, and calories may have been scarce.

Today, we don't need to drink the milk of another species to survive...  or to get enough calcium.

It's true that milk from cows is a plentiful source of calcium.  But is that really surprising, considering that its principal purpose is to help a baby calf gain several hundred pounds in six months?

Along with that calcium includes plentiful fat, cholesterol, as well as copious amounts of hormones.  The more dairy we consume, the more we directly impact and elevate the levels of hormones that are constantly circulating throughout our bodies.  Considering that the connection between elevated levels of hormones in the body to the increased risk breast and prostate cancer has been well-documented in the scientific literature for decades, I think I'll have that latte with soy milk, instead.

Just don't look to the National Dairy Association for this information, as they'll continue to claim that cow's milk is a wholesome, nutritious food that's safe for your entire family.

In closing, let's watch another fun video from, in which researchers described how they analyzed data from multiple experiments and concluded that dripping organic cow's milk on prostate cancer cells in a petri dish increased their growth rate by an average of 30%, while dripping almond milk on the cancer cells suppressed their growth rate by the same average of 30%.

Click HERE to watch the video.  And again, don't look to the National Dairy Association to be advertising this research any time soon.

Want prostate cancer?  Drink cow's milk.

In the meantime, please enjoy your delicious Thai Sweet Potato Burgers.

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