Saturday, July 31, 2010

Green Melody, Jericho, NY

  I'm in my semi annual training now so I'm fitting this in between class and simulator rides.
Amazing food is all I'm going to say for now and 100% vegan.  It's a little strange that the menu says Vegetarian and Vegan but everything is Vegan but I was told that some people don't understand what vegan means.  OK, I'll buy that.  The menu also has little "v"s next to the meat names...chicken, beef, etc.  I wondered about this too and was told that some people don't realize the protein is vegan and not the real animal.

The hot and sour soup was delicious with just the right amount of heat working up the back of my throat.  Not too vinegary as some I've had.  I would have preferred some scallions to the cilantro, (and I like cilantro).  The wanton broth was earthy and rich with bok choy.  The wanton skins were tender and the filling I thought was definitely a veggie filling, not a mock meat attempt...not that thats what it was being sold as.

Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms.
I've had these before and although the taste was there with a light crispy outer layer I felt the meat of the mushroom was more "stemmy" and chewy.

The kid thought for a second I was going to grab the watermelon smoothie.  She was right.  It was the way a smoothie should taste, like the fruit it was made from and not like the sugar monster was let loose with a blender.  I'd let her drink these all day.

The picture of the appetizer platter for 2 (which fed 3 easily), didn't come out.  The sad part about that was, as good as all the food was, the deep fried roll on the appetizer, (orange outer layer), was one of the best things I ever ate.  It was filled with mushrooms and tasted great with a wonderful mouth feel.  There was some mock duck that I wasn't crazy about, sort of chewy but I've yet to have a good mock duck so I guess that means the duck was average.  But but but there was something, a kind of loafish thing, slices, that tasted just like chicken roll used to back in the day.  Great texture and I thought the flavor was spot on  ... but I got two lukewarm shoulder shrugs.  The roll though, I'd go back just for that...and get you all a picture, I promise.

Sesame vegan chicken
Sweet and Sour Vegan Beef, fried rice and spring roll.
Kid on a sugar high ... but wait, I didn't think there was much sugar in the smoothie.  Ah, kid on a watermelon high.
Curry Vegan Chicken
Interesting thing about these 3 dishes.  The sesame chicken and sweet and sour beef were both breaded and fried dishes but there was a variance between each piece.  Some had a thick and tough breading, some were soggy, naturally after sitting in the sauce, and some were just right.  Puzzling, but the breading needs more consistency in my book.  Not that I wouldn't order this again, just saying.

Now the curry really surprised me.  Each piece of "chicken" was moist and succulent.  The sauce was a very pleasant curry flavor, not unbalanced in any one spice, and lent almost an undertone of flavor.  It was the best entree I thought.

Dessert...well, dessert.  If I didn't know, I mean, wasn't told that this cake was vegan I'd never believe it. And to simplify what I seek when I eat out to be ... well ... it doesn't taste Vegan is wrong on so many levels but well, it did and it was.  Vegan food has bad rap.  This will change that rap.  The ice cream, sans cream was just amazing and paired so nicely with the chocolate.  Oh, it was walnut ... I think.

The orange wasn't anything to write home about and the fortune cookie in plastic was ... a fortune cookie in plastic although how it knew I was good looking and smart and success would knock on my door any day now I can't figure out.

Good go to place for a vegan chinese meal.  On my list for sure.

OH, and Google local maps on my TOM TOM Gps showed this place as closed.  IT'S NOT CLOSED but the website on their business card said unable to find server, so as of now, that is down.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

TofuXpress My first product review

The people at TofuXpress ( sent me one of their units to test out and here's the initial result.  I'm sure as I use it more and more I'll be letting you know how the dishes come out.

TofuXpress at the ready, all loaded and ready to go.
It's a pretty nifty device out of the box, a kitchen utility crossed with a medieval torture instrument and now that it's on the counter I see how it works.  The other thing I wan't to say is it's smaller than I thought it would be and that my friends, when looking at the world through a tiny Manhattan, NY kitchen, is an incredibly good thing!

I read the fairly short and to the point User Guide and off I went for:

Test 1

The press sitting on the block of tofu before applying pressure.

Pushing down on the spring exerts pressure on the tofu and the plate is slightly twisted under the flanges.  A bit more twist and the TofuXpress is locked and loaded.

Within 5 minutes the TofuXpress had about 1/4 inch of water pressed out.  You can see how the marinating lid fits underneath like a base.

As the water gets squeezed out it rises above the pressure plate and accumulates above.  The tofu doesn't rise up, just the water.  It amazed me that the tofu didn't squish up the sides but it didn't. 
You have to turn over the unit to drain the water, then twist the top so it clears the flanges and the top comes off.
I sliced this right in the bottom of the unit which in retrospect probably wasn't such a good idea as I'm not sure I want a unit with knife scratch marks.  Next time I'm not going to be lazy and remove the tofu, put it on a cutting board and replace it.  I did this to avoid using another container, (I'm somewhat manic over not cleaning anything more than I have to).

Ok, so here's the general first impression evaluation.  I used tofu about 20% of the time and usually as a "throw in," just to add protein to a dish, or as a filler.  I never really gave it much thought as making seitan is something I do once a week or so.  One of the reasons for that is that I usually had *something* in the sink and to make the tower of plates and cans involved cleaning out a sink and then building this precarious structure.
The tofu would end up sitting in the water as it was pressed out and sometimes the block of tofu would split and the whole thing would topple over.  
Other times my wife would wash something, not noticing the 14" high science project in the sink getting soap all over everything.
So as you can see I wasn't a big fan of pressing tofu.

I can only say the device is brilliant.  It did exactly what it set out to do.  The tofu was pressed and firm and worked very well in the dish I cooked.  I just put it in the fridge and forgot about it until the next day.  No muss, no fuss, no water all over everywhere.  I won't go as far as saying it was pleasurable, (and there are very few tofu experiences I can say are actually at the level of pleasurable), but it was nice not to have to worry about making a mess.  Relaxing.  Yes, I checked on it a few times, (you can see the plate underneath it in the second picture below), and at some point I stopped worrying about this project.

Test 2

Now for the other thing it did very well and this is definitely an added bonus.  I am always skeptical when it comes to something not leaking.  If it can leak, it will, so be forewarned and take precautions.  The TofuXpress comes with a marinating lid.  In my mind marinating also means rotating every so often so now I'm worried it's going to leak all over the place.  It's just a tight fitting molded piece of plastic.  I used a "drier" marinate which still had enough liquid to seep out if seeping was going to occur.
Sliced tofu with the marinade in the TofuXpress

The result of Test 2 was impressive.  I kept rotating the unit every time I went into the fridge, gently shaking it to coat all the sides of the tofu and setting it down on the top, bottom, and the sides.  There was no leaking at all.

If pressing tofu is something you do with a home made tower of plates and weights I'd say this is definitely something you want in your kitchen.  

Now what to do with my newly pressed tofu ... hmmm ... lets sweat some onions, zucchini and garlic.

Nicely sweating away

Frying up the marinated tofu.  I didn't get the crispness I wanted on the outside but was too lazy to set up a breading station and do it right.

They were a little crispy and definitely had that cooked toothiness to them.

Lets make a pan gravy.  A little white wine to deglaze and some leftover stock from the seitan I made the other night.  I thought the flour in the stock would be enough to thicken the sauce. It wasn't.
Made a quick buerre manie to thicken it up.   Not real beurre, flour mixed into Earth Balance

You can see the sauce doesn't run back after moving the spoon across the bottom.  

I didn't have any parsley for garnish, which would have looked nice so I lamely threw a few sprigs of Thyme on top

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bonefish Willys, Melbourne, FL

This is just a quickie.  I'm writing because here is a basic fish restaurant on the Indian River serving mainstream dishes.  I called before and felt it was a difficult conversation describing what a vegan meal was and having "vegetables" offered as an option for dinner.  Well, yeah.

Ok, but persistence paid off and we talked about a pasta with veggies in a garlic and oil.  Ok, oh well, that's the best I can hope for.

The beer was cold and perfect after just walking from the car, (right outside the front door), into the front door, I was soaked due to the 304% humidity.  Ok, well, I didn't walk INTO the front door, more like opened it and went THROUGH the front door.

I looked at all the fish on the menu and resolved to make it a vegan meal.  No matter how my old taste buds were calling.

I ordered a humungous salad, and it truly was.  Now folks, here is how easy it is to forget.  I think honey is one of those border foods and I ordered the honey mustard dressing.  I ate about half my salad when I realized it wasn't an oil emulsion but was mayonnaise.  And that I didn't want but Sandy was great and offered me a Honey Balsamic Vinagarette and when I asked about the ingredients she went and checked.  Ah, the education of a waitress.  Then she brought out this platter of pasta that was at least twice a normal order, chocked full of asparagus, onions, mushrooms, (which Sandy came out and asked me on behalf of the Chef if I liked), cherry tomatoes, and gaaaaaarlic.  It was fantastic although I added a bit of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  The flavors melded as the dish sat and for a plain old dish I was ready to be disappointed in it really hit the mark.

Even though what I was offered was really vegetablearian, I think the kitchen took the ball and ran with it, Sandy tried her hardest to handle my pain in the butt vegan issues and the result was a really nice dining experience.  I didn't take any pics because I didn't think I was going to write about the meal but thought better of it after considering the effort the staff went through.

I'd definitely go back.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Out for dinner at Blockheads, NYC

Sometimes you just don't feel like cooking and in searching for a place that would cater to my wife's omnivore cravings and my vegan desires we ended up at Blockheads on 2nd Ave between 81/82 Sts.

I was captivated by the 100% vegan cheese, tofu sour cream and grilled tofu substitutions blatantly advertised on the menu.  How dare you tease me, allow me to put my restaurant inquisition aside for a meal.

Dare accepted, you're on!

We had about a 20 minute wait according to the hostess and that was at 7PM on Thursday night.  Man the place was packed...and after wandering around looking for a bar, (hey, for her ... I was still on call), we gave up and decided better to not miss our names being called and going back to the bottom of the list.  So, about 20 minutes later we got our table.  Now Blockheads isn't your quiet Mexican place with moments of Mariachi Band, it's your typical NYC loud, boisterous, don't come here for intimate conversation kind of place.  I know, the kind of place I loved when I was in my 20s.  But really, we sat next to each other, (awww, I know), and conversation was easy.

Starting out with a Quesadilla I changed it to Whole Wheat and ordered the soy (vegan) cheese with roasted corn salsa and sauteed spinach.  It was hugh!!

It literally was spilling over the sides of the plate and you can see the tofu sour cream in the little ramekin.  The sour cream didn't really taste like sour cream but had more of a hummouy consistency with a slight lemon tinge.  It served its purpose nicely though and cooled down some of the heat from the hot sauces I tend to pour over everything every other bite or so.  Sometimes.

The first thing was how nice and crispy the tortilla was, not soggy at all, and my first sensation, to be repeated later, was how creamy the cheese was.
It was followed by the rich flavor combination of the corn and spinach.  First dish of the night, a big hit.

Next, for some reason in my mind, Mexican turned into Caribbean and we both ordered the Jerk Burrito.  She, the real thing, and I the tofu after being assured the jerk flavor would come through very well even though the tofu wasn't marinated in it.  Our waitress was right.

Even though it wasn't as hugh as the Quesadilla it was still a big burrito.
Here you can see the 3 sauces: extra jerk sauce, tofu sour cream, and salsa.

I tried to show the tofu and bean and rice and cheese but it was a bit dark and the iPhone did as good a job as it knew how.  I should mention that I told our waitress I wanted to make it vegan and she prompted me for the whole wheat tortilla, soy cheese, and brown rice.  Great.  I chowed down and it was delicious.  Creamy and flavorful with a nice crunch also.  The tofu, although I think when you eat tofu you can usually tell it's tofu really didn't mind being tofu in this burrito.  It was smothered in Jerk sauce and there was more on the side.  I got a distinct taste of tamarind and other fruitiness like mango or papaya and with some heat added and some cool from the sour cream and the soy cheese; it was one of the best burritos.  Also knowing it was vegan, as it usually is, is just so relaxing.

So, when I got home, as I often do when I get to a place with more light, I take a good close look at the food and do a little bit of deconstruction.  Here you can see, I think, that the burrito has a much paler, more yellow color than the quesadilla so maybe it wasn't whole wheat.  Ok, not the biggest deal in the world, I'm just saying.  Anyway, I asked about desert and was told there was a brownie, a chocolate chip cookie and flan.  Flan?  Hmmmm.  "Are any of the deserts vegan?" I asked.  With a sort of puzzled look and a shrug I was told timidly, "I think they might not have any oil."  Hmmmm.  Ok, ditch the desert.  I was a bit sad about this but with no hot beverages coffee was off the list and I asked for our check.  We did have half our food to take home for a bill of around $58 with one drink which isn't too bad for Manhattan.

I'm going to give this place another try as I thought the food was really good (and they definitely have a drink on the menu involving an overturned beer bottle in ... well, you have to see it but I have to not be on call to try it), but I do want to be sure to address the vegan issue before hand.  I am reasonably certain I was served vegan food but if it's advertised on the menu I like to know that my wait staff knows what I'm talking about.


I'm coining a new phrase: vegetablearian.

I am just no longer satisfied when I go to a restaurant and am served a bowl of vegetables, or the chef's standard ... Hmmmm ... wait for it ... it's too original ... grilled vegetables.  I am not a vegetablearian.

I want creativity and thought in my restaurant meals.  I want you to either dazzle me with what you are doing with vegetables that hasn't been done before or I want you to imitate the tastes and flavors and textures of my childhood but this time include a healthy dose of compassion.  I want you to show me what you can do with Tempeh, Tofu, and Seitan.  I want you to take mundane foods and spin and combine them into tastes and textures I could not imagine.

Although it's better than nothing, I'm a little tired of merely being relieved that a restaurant puts a Gardenburger on a menu and calls it a day.

What do you think?


Marty's Flying Vegetarian Review @

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vietnam Noodle House, Nashua, NH

So we find ourselves in Nashua, NH visiting our daughter in camp and HappyCow came up with a list that we narrowed down to two.  One being closed on Monday left us with an easy decision.  Vietnam Noodle House advertises a vegetarian menu.  I hope they can "Veganize" it for me but when I look at the menu and I see "OUr strict vegetarian uses no meat, dairy, or eggs," it does bring a sense of relief as we've all had those, "hmmm, this DOES taste like chicken broth," moments after assuming vegetarian mean exactly that.  Yes, I know, that "assume" thing again.

One of the reviews said the restaurant was "spartan" and "had no ambiance."  I don't know.  I have eaten great food in more spartan surroundings and had lousy food in well appointed places.  I like it when a place is pragmatically food centered and I didn't object to the trinket display case as another reviewer did.

I started with the Vietnamese beer which I thought tasted a bit "thin".  It was usurped by a very tired looking Carol.  The result of a long day of driving for sure.
We really wanted to sample many of the dishes so ordered like gluttons with the excuse that we'd have lots to take back to the hotel room and put in the fridge for our daughter, (who is a vegetarian), as she said only 2 out of the 3 people who cook at the camp take her vegetarian requests seriously.  Excuses excuses, we wanted to taste lots of stuff.

Our fist appetizer was the Tofu Chicken Fingers and this was a battered tofu.  I enjoyed the texture of the batter in the center of each piece of tofu but it was a bit thick and harder on the edges.  The batter itself had a nice flavor, a bit of sweet and made a nice combination with the sweetish lemony dipping sauce.

The Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Tofu Soup had a nice mix of perfectly cooked veggies which still had a nice crunch, a complex flavor with a heat that hit the back of the throat after each spoonful.  This dish was a meal in itself.  The brown bits on the top are crispy onions.

Dumpling were standard veggie filling with a nice thin dough and a soy/vinegar/ginger dipping sauce.

Our house special fried rice had a bit of all the mock meats.  I wish it had big chunks instead of bits but was reminiscent of the flavors I used to enjoy in my past meat-eating life.  One of the flavors was a very smoky flavor.  I'm not sure which of the meats had that but that was my least favorite flavor in the rice.  In the background of the picture is the Mock Chicken Stir Fried with Lemongrass.  Now that was my wife's choice.  I've never had, (I know I know), lemongrass before so I can't tell you if it's wonderful peppery overtones were from the lemongrass or from, well ... pepper, but it was a great dish.  Tons and tons of the mock meat interspersed with stir fried veggies.

I contrasted the Mock Chicken Stir Fry with the dish I ordered.  I'm a seitan junky so ordered the Mock Chicken or Beef with Curry Sauce and substituted the Seitan.  Pretty much anything I asked was answered by our young waiter and although asking for our water twice aside, the service was excellent.

The seitan was delicious and crispy and flavorful.  The curry was a delicious undertone, not an overpowering sledgehammer of flavor and the veggies were crisp and perfectly cooked.  My only complaint was that as much mock chicken as was in the lemongrass dish was made up for by the lack of seitan in this dish.  As you can see, there is one small piece in the picture on the right side of the plate in the front.  I ordered a side of seitan to go and it was only $2.00 so this could have been addressed in the kitchen.

With a tip our bill was $58 but we left with a hugh shopping bag full of food.  What we had wrapped was easily 2 more meals.  I thought this place was a great value and had great tasting food.  If I lived in Nashua it would definitely be on my "eat here, eat often" list.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Soul Vegetarian East, Chicago, IL

I had a few extra hours before my 10PM departure from Midway, a rental car, and after reading a few online reviews add to that a big dose of curiosity.  I'm also searching in earnest for something closer to Midway Airport not always having the time to go downtown.  Not that this necessarily fit the bill mind you.

Back in the day, (1975?), I used to eat at a place in Rochester, NY called Smitty's Birdland No. 1 which was across the bridge from the U of R.  It wasn't in the best of neighborhoods to say the least but the food was great and college budget priced...and heaped on the plate for college appetites.  So no stranger to traveling alone to ethnic neighborhoods I figured, "What the hell?"

Soul Vegetarian East ... way south in Chicago.  I had thoughts of Jim Croce and Big Bad Leroy Brown and why where he came from was referred to as, "the baddest part of town," as I started my trek.  Through some hinkey neighborhoods with boarded up buildings and then further along on 75th it seemed alright to me.  I have never had a problem growing up in Brooklyn and taking the subway through every bad neighborhood in NY or eating at the Vegetarian Juice Bar on 125th Street in Harlem, but in a different city you really never know what you're going to get.  It was fine in my book although I do fly with a guy who got so scared in the Mission District of SF that I thought his head was going to explode while I was looking for a veg Philly Cheese Steak a couple of years ago.  This definitely wasn't a place for him.

The neighborhood was fine and I got a spot almost right in front of the place which is pretty easy to find.  I was greeted warmly and sat at a table by the window.,No,  not to keep an eye on my car but because I am tired of dark unlit food pics.

I ordered the dinner special for $11.99 but unfortunately they were out of the Lentil Carrot soup so I got the veggie noodle instead.  I also ordered 2 sandwiches to go for the red eye-ish flight out of Midway at a rolling departure time of between 2130 and 2330.  I so wanted a BBQ twist sandwich but they were out so I ended up with the Prince Elkannon (Garvey) Burger.   I generally shy away from burgers but I had a few bites in the plane and downed it later at 3am and it was divine with sauteed mushrooms and onions in a sweet whole wheat bun.

Later I also had a few bites of my Jerkfu Wrap, (a caribbean delight made with sautéed onions bell peppers and our specially seasoned jerk tofu, wrapped in a spinach tortilla).  This sauce reminded me of the sauce boneless spare ribs used to come in ... sweet and succulent.  








The whole bill with tip came to $30 so if I have the time and the right copilot I'm heading here again.  This place should be a chain.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Double Wide, Pittsburg, PA

The Double Wide is a comfort food place that caters to an omni crowd.  There is a whole page on the menu devoted to "Vegetarian and Vegan" dishes.  It's where I go to when I am in Pittsburgh and have to cater to the needs of my coworkers who are unwilling to have a meat free meal.  This is my second visit there and both times I was happy and my associates were definitely pleased with their fare.

The Double Wide is a converted gas station.  The menu says since 1939 but I don't know if that's true or part of the "story."

I started the meal with the Seitan wings, (can you tell I'm a sucker for anything calling itself a wing and vegan?), with a cajun spice dusting and a side, ($0.49 extra of course), of BBQ sauce.  I think you should just add $0.49 to ever dish and not nickel and dime but that's another topic for another time.
It's a scrawny looking plate but I'm not a food stylist, just think a bed of kale or something would spruce the place up a bit.

You can see the cornmeal crust and some of the red dusting.  There definitely was a hint of cayenne but it didn't scream "cajun".  That's just fine, the seitan was moist and tender on the inside and the crust was a nice contrast.  I happen to like just about all sauces and this was a KC sweet molassesy type sauce which was a really nice dip.  I always look at a plate like this, think of how much I order both because I'm hungry and ... well, I'm writin' a damn blog for crissake, and mentally divide the plate, half to eat and half to take home.  The take home half never made it.  Finished the whole thing by myself.  My copilot couldn't be tempted into trying even one.

I need to get a better camera, I know but you can see some of the texture of the seitan and one of the ingredients, pearl barley.

I usually don't order tofu as I think it's just a substitute for animal protein and would much rather sample something that is made inhouse but wanted to try the coconut rum sauce and the dish sounded good.

It was a wonderful combination of sweets, the tofu had a nice crust and although it looked like my first cut into the first tofu cube yielded oil like it was coming out of a soaked sponge it was just the moisture from the tofu.  It was excellent.  The rice was also unexpectedly sweet and although advertised as having cilantro I didn't get that.  It had a bit of spice though and worked out well since on occasion I do like an indulgent sweet main dish.  The peppers and onions and carrots in the coconut sauce added a nice touch of savory flavor and texture.  The squash side was delicious and tasted buttery.  It was vegetable oil and some garlic.

View from the ramp at AGC airport, (Allegheny County, PA).  Not the plane I fly, btw.

A great meal and a great sunset before firing up and heading home.

Chicago Diner, Chicago, IL

Sometimes I get to a place and have a couple of hours of just waiting around.  Sometimes I get lucky and the place where I wait, the FBO, (Fixed Base Operator), which is the company that parks us, gasses us up, provides facilities for checking weather, comfortable chairs in a pilot's lounge or snooze room actually has a crew car available.  This one did but we could only take it for an hour.  This had takeout at the Chicago Diner written all over it so the Flight Attendant, (I hardly ever fly with a flight attendant as the airplane I'm flying now only has 8 (lazy boy lounge type) seats and a very small galley, jumped in the car and off we went.

Hence the take out boxes.

The Chicago Diner is a vegan place so right off the bat I don't have to worry about questioning this dish or that ingredient.  Here is the Seitan Wings.  I thought they were less dense than they were almost resembling more of a baked tofu consistency than seitan.  We both enjoyed the spice and the cool ranch dressing even if they were a tad on the chewier side.

The Radical Ruben

We got two sandwiches and split them.  Sometimes I do miss foods and flavors from my old foodal life and sinking my teeth into this sandwich was a blast from the past.  I've made tempeh rubens before but this has the most amazing consistency and when you're chewing it the tastes just meld in your mouth.  One of the reasons why The Chicago Diner should be in any travelers top 10 Vegan restaurant list.

This had a lighter Turkey-ish seitan and was a much creamier sandwich.  The cole slaw added a mayonaiseish feel and mixed with the daiya just melted in your mouth.  

The Radical Ruben exposed

There used to be a diner in NYC on 14th Street that was vegetarian and it closed several years ago.  It truly was a loss and the Chicago Diner with it's plate after plate of comfort food is my go to easy casual quick delicious go to comfort food place.  The sad part is that it's 680 nautical miles away and that, under any circumstance, is a long way to go for a sandwich.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dinner tonite

The dish in the foreground is a Tempeh bacon-ish dish in a cider vinegar reduction with teese on top.  Both are Whole wheat organic buns from Rudy's and both have a dijon mustard/veganaise spread on the buns.  The rear dish is a seitan cutlet I had laying around and just crisped it up in the frying pan after making the first dish.  Lettuce on both and a fresh cold organic tomato tops it off.

This dish was inspired by a recipe posted at

Dietary Guidlines Letter to USDA and HHS

Dietary Guidelines
Here's what I wrote before the canned stuff:

First, my own 2 cents.  I would like you to vote for a more plant based guideline.  I would prefer you voted in a suggested Vegan guideline but that might be a long time coming.  There is so much medical documentation regarding health, (or lack of it!!) and the consumption of animal foods that it can only help our society medically, health-wise, and environmentally to advocate a more plant based food guideline.
Please do what's right and not what the influence peddlers in Washington advocate.  Do what's right for America, the planet, and the animals.  Encourage a more plant based diet.  Encourage meatless Mondays...and Tuesdays and to have a meatless meal everyday until we can truly encourage meatless everyday.
And now the boilerplate...
I'm writing to you in reference to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I was very pleased to learn that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended that the guidelines you produce encourage Americans to "shift food intake to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds." Plant-based diets are linked to lower rates of cancer, ischemic heart disease, and diabetes, as well as lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass indices. As this nation faces an obesity epidemic, encouraging Americans to replace the animal-based foods on their plates, which tend to have high rates of fat and cholesterol, with healthier plant-based alternatives is a great step towards solving our nation's health crisis. 
For these same reasons, I was disappointed that the committee recommended increasing consumption of dairy products and seafood. Dairy products have been linked to high rates of reproductive cancers and osteoporosis and contain high levels of cholesterol. In addition, between 30 and 50 million Americans are living with lactose intolerance, and recommendations for increased dairy consumption do not address their dietary needs. Seafood also has high levels of fat and cholesterol and is unnecessary to meet the protein and dietary needs of Americans. Since leading health and nutrition organizations like the American Dietetic Association and the Mayo Clinic recognize that plant-based diets can meet all the nutritional needs of Americans, I urge you to include non-dairy calcium sources and non-meat protein sources in your dietary guidelines.