Marin VEG December News Marin VEG
December 2021

I offer abundant thanks to the many readers who sent condolences and kind words on my mother's passing.  It is a sad time, indeed, yet as my mom always said, "Life is for the living."  And life is vibrantly asserting itself in the green hills, flowing streams, birdsong, buckeyes, hammock spider webs and warm smiles from friends and strangers.
 If you haven't read it yet, I wholeheartedly recommend the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.  It's about two perspectives on our relationship with the natural world through the eyes of a biology professor who is also an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.  Beautiful writing that touches me deeply and enhances my sense feeling at home on our troubled planet.  May December bring you connection, joy, and contentment.

My Life As A Turkey
Until December 22 you can watch this excellent, short, classic film about a man who was the mother to a flock of turkeys.  Thanks to Aileen for reminding me of this unusual, touching story.

Vegan Butter Channel on YouTube
Featuring Miyoko's Butter
Here's another brilliant idea from the brilliant Miyoko: A new channel on YouTube featuring her butter in different recipes from a variety of chefs. Check it out and subscribe at:

Vegan Tuna and other fish
If you're craving vegan sashimi, here's a new option as reported in VegNews.  Award winning vegan tuna (and other vegan fish) sashimi from Kuleana are now available on line. Learn more at  To order the fish go to

Vegan Cheese at Trader Joe's
Feta joins the lineup of vegan cheeses available at Trader Joe's Here's the scoop:

Lab Grown Meat in Bay Area
I have very mixed emotions about lab grown meat.  Yes, fewer animals will suffer miserable lives and deaths.  And less methane will spew into the atmosphere.  But whether it is called cultured meat, cultivated meat, or lab grown meat, it is still meat, still bad for our arteries, still not necessary for optimum health, especially in places where sufficient calories abound.  And worst of all, lab grown meat will continue to normalize and create demand for all meat.   With these concerns on my mind, I share news of a new factory that is producing lab grown meat in the Bay Area.     This opinion piece from the New York Times offers a wise perspective on this issue, questioning the efficacy of such a high tech project.  I like its concluding argument best: "We could also just eat less meat."

Chocolate May Not Be Cruelty Free
Among the many things I learned from The Food Empowerment Project is this: Just because something is vegan, it is not necessarily cruelty free.  Taking labor practices into consideration, plenty of dairy free chocolate causes plenty of harm.  Here is the latest update from FEP on chocolate production around the world.   I use their Chocolate List app on my phone whenever I can before I buy chocolate. 

Yet, a highly respected and highly intelligent friend told me she thinks that this list and its criteria paint with too broad a brush.  Specifically, having worked with them for many years, she believes that Dr. Bronners, whose new chocolate is not approved by FEP (Cannot recommend but are working on the issues in various ways), is an eminently ethical company.  Supporting her belief is this article from VegNews  And here is an argument directly from the company  We each have to decide for ourselves whom to believe and which brands to buy.  I am grateful for my friend, for FEP's work to support ethical businesses, and for any company that is striving to bring more kindness into the world.  See the next piece for another debatable issue  of ethics.

Palm Oil Debate
It's embarrassing to admit, but I've become more cynical over the years.   Case in point: I try to avoid buying things that include palm oil in their ingredients. It's as hard as avoiding plastic; almost impossible.  In the past  I'd have taken comfort in this bulletin from The Rain Forest Alliance. They say they are working to create ethically produced palm oil.  Having watched the film Seaspiracy, however, I know that many certifying organizations for "safe seafood" or "dolphin safe tuna," for example, cannot be trusted.  Deals are made to get the certification.  Thus my skepticism surfaces when the Rainforest Alliance tries to reassure me that some palm oil is not adding greenhouse gas emissions, hurting orangutan habitat or native peoples.  I am sure that the Rainforest Alliance is doing good work, but I will continue to try to avoid palm oil as best as I am able.

Reader Judith G. is convinced that palm oil from Latin America is less harmful and does not harm orangutans.  But how do we reliably learn where the palm oil is coming from?  Here is more about what we can do to reduce the harm of palm oil production: 

Reader Patricia J. shares this about soaps made without palm oil:  Auromere Ayurvedic Bar Soap, many scents, the Himalayan Rose is gentle and they have 3 additional fragrances.Heritage Products Castor Oil Soap Fragrance Free -- 3.5 oz    They are available on, where with a $49.+ purchase they offer free shipping, and also offer frequent 5-20% discounts on your order. These soaps are without palm oil, I've not found at Good Earth or Whole Foods.


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