This isn't exactly "news" per se, so I figured it would be better off here, since it covers veg*n lifestyle.
The July 2003 issue of Ebony magazine (which serendipitously has vegan Russell Simmons on the cover) has a lead article inside, page 70, headed, "Should you Become a Vegetarian?" with the subheading "Think Before you Eat. Go Veg for Life," over a great looking photo of rap artist Common holding up a luscious looking veggie burger of some sort - looks like black bean.
The article by Zondra Hughes opens with: "BLACK vegetarians are sprouting up everywhere. A-list actress Angela Bassett, singer Erykah Badu, pop music icon Prince, hip-hop mogul/entrepreneur Russell Simmons, R&B sensation India.Arie, rap artist Common, actor Darius McCrary, model/actress Traci Bingham, members of the hip-hop group the Roots and civil rights activist and icon Coretta Scott King are all among a growing list of African-Americans who have sidestepped the traditional delicacies of soul food in favor of living a meat-free existence."
The spread includes photos of Coretta Scott King, Dick Gregory, and Whitney Houston. Coretta Scott King and Dexter King sing the praises of vegetarian living. They are vegan though the article does not explicitly say so. It just notes the foods they tend to eat -- Dexter King eats "fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes only" and Coretta Scott King eats mostly raw.
Hughes writes about the spread of vegetarianism: "Whatever your brush with vegetarians and vegetarianism, one thing is
certain: It's a health trend that is spreading in the African-American community, gradually changing the traditional soul food menu in Black kitchens all across the land."
The article stresses the health benefits of vegetarian diets:
"Those who decide to choose a vegetarian lifestyle to improve their overall health apparently have plenty of good reasons to do so.
"According to the American Dietetic Association, several research studies point to the health benefits of incorporating meatless meals into American eating patterns, including lowering the risk for heart disease and some cancers.
"Other studies suggest that women can also enjoy the health benefits of a veggie lifestyle, via incorporating more soy into their diet. Numerous studies indicate that women may experience fewer hot flashes during menopause and may and lower their risk of breast cancer if they consumed 3-4 ounces of tofu or 8 ounces of soymilk each day.
Hughes makes it clear that soy is an excellent source of protein and recommends "grilled veggie burgers, curry soy shrimp, barbecue soy chicken and sweet and sour tofu, just to name few."
We learn that as vegetarianism gains popularity in the black community, "Soul food restaurants all across the country are also tweaking their menus to accommodate Black vegetarians. For instance, a new meat-free favorite, a veggie platter consisting of greens, yams, salad and garlic potatoes, is making the rounds at Sylvia's Soul Food Restaurant in Harlem, in order to satisfy the appetites of a growing number of vegetarian customers."
Hughes describes the various types of vegetarian diets and closes with, "Health specialists agree that with careful planning, a vegetarian diet can be healthy and nutritionally sound, no matter which type of vegetarian diet you choose."
The article also includes a shot of a PETA ad featuring the hip hop group "The Roots." The ad says, "DO IT FOR YOUR HEALTH. DO IT FOR THE ANIMALS. 1-888-VEG-FOOD GoVeg.com" Ebony directs people to call PETA or visit the website for more information.
Looking at the predominantly white faces at our national animal rights conferences one could think vegetarianism is lost on the African-American community. It is wonderful to see Ebony Magazine making it clear that it isn't, and making sure that it isn't. The magazine deserves some supportive letters, particularly from black vegetarians, so please forward this email to those who might find it of interest. Surprisingly, Ebony offers no email
address for letters to the editor (the website and magazine don't have one so I called Customer Service to check) but does accept and publish traditionally mailed letters to the editor.
Here's the address:
Letters to the Editor
820 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL. 60605
Yours and the animals',
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it at www.DawnWatch.com. To subscribe to DawnWatch, email email][email protected][/email] and tell me you'd like to receive alerts. If at any time you find DawnWatch is not for you, just let me know via email and I'll take you off the subscriber list immediately. If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited and include this tag line.)