December 2005


We educate and empower people to make vegetarian choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.

Check out upcoming events, including the next two vegetarian potlucks

The Witness, a film of Transformation and Compassion, to Screen in Portland

Mark your calendar to catch a free screening of The Witness at the Central Library, SW 10th Ave. & Yamhill St., Portland, on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:00 pm. A second showing will screen on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 2:00 pm, at the Hillsdale Library, 1525 SW Sunset Blvd., Portland. A discussion will follow each screening.

In the award-winning documentary The Witness, Brooklyn construction contractor Eddie Lama explains how he feared and avoided animals for most of his life, until the love of a kitten opened his heart, inspiring him to rescue abandoned animals, become a vegetarian, and ultimately, to bring his message of compassion to the streets of New York.

With humor and sincerity, Eddie tells the story of his remarkable change in consciousness, sharing along the way some of the shocking realities of the meat and fur industries. Featuring the song "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan, this is a story of beauty and transcendence in the face of tragedy and despair. The 40-minute film is produced by Tribe of Heart, whose most recent film is Peaceable Kingdom.

Local Vegan Businesses Honored in VegNews Poll

Congratulations to Food Fight! Editors of VegNews Magazine recently voted the Portland vegan snack store "best convenience store with attitude" in the nation for 2005. This is no small feat for a business that's only been in operation since 2003. Vegans everywhere can visit the new online store at Fortunately, we locals can peruse the shelves in Portland at 4179 SE Division St. Behind the beans in the photo are owners Chad Miller and Emiko Badillo.

Another round of congratulations is in order for Blossoming Lotus whose Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, received the top cookbook nod in the same VegNews poll! Portland is fortunate to be the home of one of two Blossoming Lotus restaurants. You can congratulate the staff and try their delicious culinary creations at 925 NW Davis St., Portland. Join Northwest VEG for a dine-out there at 6:00 pm on Dec. 10. RSVP to by Dec. 7.


Compassionate Thanksgiving Celebration Draws Over 100

More than 100 hungry Northwest VEG members and friends found their way out of the cold and into the best veg potluck in Portland on Nov. 20 at the Compassionate Thanksgiving Celebration. After a Lakota Four Directions Prayer led by Chef Al Chase, table numbers were read to foster a gradual descent on two long tables full of veg dishes. During the meal, longtime volunteer Connie Holz recognized Northwest VEG's efforts and encouraged others to become involved. Carol Merrick, board secretary and MC for the evening, provided some history of Thanksgiving, noting that the early occasions were vegetarian; only later was the flesh of the turkey consumed.

Pie from Buddha Belly Bakery and brownies donated by Chef Al topped off the awesome meal. Local singer-songwriter Anne Weiss entertained the sated celebrants with a number of original folk-blues songs, including the sing-along Snowbound for Your Love and the inspirational Mountain. Thanks to Artichoke Music for their donating a sound system for the event!

Diners at the Nov. 20 event included, from left, Al Chase, Donna Benjamin, Nicole Bowmer, Dylan, Walker, and Joel Preston Smith.

Volunteer Corner: Thanks!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with the
Compassionate Thanksgiving Celebration on Nov. 20. Your cooperation and good spirits helped to make it a successful event!

Check out the volunteer page on our website for more volunteer opportunities or contact Maggie at (503) 493-2358 or

Trader Joe's Takes an Eggcelent Stand

Thanks to all who contacted Trader Joe's during the campaign to convince TJ's to switch to cage-free eggs. We have "eggcelent" news for you: It worked!

Trader Joe's has agreed to convert all of their brand name eggs to cage-free within 3 months. In addition, all egg promotions at their stores will be devoted solely to cage-free eggs. Unfortunately, the company did not adopt a complete cage-free policy with all of the brands that they carry, but this positive step was enough for the Humane Society of the United States to place a moratorium on their No Battery Eggs campaign targeting the company.

In addition to HSUS, Compassion Over Killing and Mercy for Animals maintain outreach campaigns opposing the cruel industry in which battery cages are the norm.


J. Crew Decides to Drop Fur

Clothing retailer J. Crew Group Inc., which has been the target of an anti-fur campaign, will no longer sell products made with fur, a company spokesman said on Nov. 30.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched its J. Crew campaign, which included protests, petitions, and letters to the company, on September 12. In addition, J. Crew customers complained about the company's carry fur in spite of an earlier announcement that it would not. Learn more about the violent and bloody fur industry in The Witness (see article above).

However, a spokesman for J. Crew said the decision was made for business reasons and was was not related to the campaign by PETA. Sure.

'Vegan' Inventor Donald Watson Dies at 95

Born in 1910, Donald Watson gave something extraordinary to the animal-friendly diet and way of life — a name. Donald was the inventor of the word "vegan." This was back in 1944 where there was no assistance from groups like Northwest Veg nor from authors like John Robbins or Howard Lyman. As the founder of The Vegan Society, Donald Watson lived a life that will continue to inspire many for years to come.

The son of a headmaster in the mining community of Mexborough, South Yorkshire, he was born into an environment in which vegetarianism, let alone veganism, was unknown. Donald’s parents, however, encouraged and supported their three children in determining their own paths in life, a liberal approach which enabled Donald to formulate ideas which were both challenging and controversial. He held his parents in great esteem, and often expressed his gratitude for their wisdom in accepting, if not understanding, his philosophy.



Spreading the Good Word to the Physicists

In the August 2005 issue of Physics World, British physicist Alan Calverd reported that farmed animals emit 20 percent of the carbon dioxide attributed to human activity. While our dependence on transportation and industry plays a large role in global warming, Calverd's conclusion was that eliminating animal agriculture alone would curb a significant amount of global warming damage.

Moreover, there would be no adverse effects to health and it would be an experiment that we could abandon at any stage. "Worldwide reduction of meat production in the pursuit of the targets set in the Kyoto treaty seems to carry fewer political unknowns than cutting our consumption of fossil fuels," Calverd says.

While that's no surprise to most vegans and vegetarians, hopefully, some physicists learned a thing or two.



National Geographic Study of Centenarians Points to Benefits of Veg Diet

What are the secrets to living a long, healthy life? The November 2005 issue of National Geographic offered some possibilities with their cover story on centenarians from Okinawa to Sardinia to Loma Linda, California. Staying active, finding a purpose and taking time to celebrate life were all common themes. The end result came down to one final suggestion: Go Vegetarian. As the magazine concluded in their 'Do It Yourself' section, "Compared with meat-eaters, vegetarians experience significantly lower rates of heart disease, some cancers, and other health problems. If you want to give the vegetarian life a try, there's good news: Eating well without meat is easier than ever."

The section also included a look at three famous vegetarians. Henry Ford advocated for soy use in both his vegetarian diet and his cars. Benjamin Franklin gave up meat for a time, in part to save money. Leonardo da Vinci, a vegetarian on moral grounds, bought animals in order to free them.

A Vegan Diet is Possible!
By Donna Nikzi, Contributing Writer

As a concerned resident on our planet, I often wonder, “What is required to put an end to the degradation of our earth? Why have we forsaken our sacred covenant whereby we, as humanity, pledged to be the stewards of this breath-giving and breathtaking garden? When will we awaken to the immensity of our errors? We were given so much. Not too much for our inherent capacity to care for, nurture, and sustain our home, but a wondrous lot, in deed. And now, as we witness the consequences of our using, abusing, killing, destroying, poisoning — the results of our arrogance and irresponsibility gone mad — what are we to do? How do we begin now to remedy our misdeeds? Is a solution possible?

My wonderings have led me to an answer that resides in the heart. The words, “earth” and “heart” are inextricably linked, as are the words “love” and “evolve.” Our hearts contain the throne wherein sits the love that enfolds and evolves us. Love keeps us calm and at peace. Love sustains us. Our choices and actions must be guided by love in order for us to return to the garden and for the garden to return to us.

Much of the food we eat today is not of the garden. It is not alive and vibrant. It depletes and drains life away rather than infuse the body with much needed sustenance. Love is the highest frequency, and so is the food that comes from the garden. Love and health walk hand in hand. In America, our physical health has been sacrificed in part by putting profits first. It’s not hard to see how the quest for profits has wreaked havoc in the garden...and in our bodies.

Click here to read the full article, A Vegan Diet is Possible! >>

Editor’s note: Northwest VEG member Donna Nikzi was one of more than 1,000 writers who entered Vegan Fusion’s “A Vegan World is Possible” essay contest. Her essay placed in the top 50, earning her a prize of a package of NEWGREENS, a “super food” developed by Pure Prescriptions. To read the essay of the Grand Prize Winner (awarded an expense paid trip to Kauai), click here. Check out Vegan Fusion at

The Northwest VEG E-Bits is published via email around the first of every even-numbered month. If you would like to contribute to E-bits, or if you have any feedback, please contactNicole Bowmer, editor, at