Vegetarian Times

Every time I get a chest pain, which is whenever the news is on, I wistfully announce: "I should be a vegetarian." Of course, I should also exercise more, stop worshipping caramel and consider switching channels. If you want to avoid stupidity and violence, watch Turner Classic Movies. Your stress levels will drop faster than the stock market.

Yes, I realize it's an election year -- and it pays to stay informed. Unlike the McCain camp, I'm all for grilling public officials and their surrogates. If they can't man up before over-coiffed journalists, how will they cope with Putin? However, for truly tasty morsels, stick with culinary treats. And Vegetarian Times serves them up nice.

Let me say at the outset, I'm not a vegetarian. Or a vegan. Or anything else with a "v" -- unless it's vindictive. And that's only if you approach me before I've had my morning coffee. Every time I eat at a vegetarian's table, I ask the same question: "Where's the protein?" If they serve fish, I'm happy. If not, I'm amazed at the delicious dinners they whip up.

Such people are often mindful of health and nutrition; I can work or cook -- I can't do both. So I'm impressed by those who can. Since health is a priority, check out the new and improved VT, which recommends we "eat green, live well."

To fulfill that goal, the redesigned mag features three new editorial departments: "Technique," which shows readers how to hone their cooking skills; "Peak Season," where shoppers learn how to select in-season produce; and "Healing Foods," a cheerleader for the health-boosting powers of natural foods.

I didn't notice any hurrahs for gin, flavored with juniper berry, or vodka, which, according to, is "originally distilled from fermented wheat mash, but now made from a mash of rye, corn, or potatoes," but maybe next issue.

Over the past year, per Active Interest Media, the magazine's parent company, VT newsstand sales are up 25%, subscriptions up 5% and ad pages have grown 13%. According to a Vegetarian Times survey, 7.3 million people follow a veggie-based diet. How many people, like the pub's editor, buy organic food? It sounds great, until you see the price tag. In Manhattan, shopping at the farmer's market means cashing in an IRA to get a decent salad. You think gas is expensive? Note what some eco-growers are charging for broccoli! Good vodka is cheaper -- and gives better buzz.

Still, the food photos here are seductive. If I can figure out how to use the wok properly, aided by the article "Wok This Way," I'd sauté with élan. Also, if you want to lower cholesterol and boost the immune system, try mushrooms: Maitake, shiitake, reishi and the common white button have healing properties. This issue even has the "ultimate vegetarian wine guide." There's no battle between red and white. Drink what you like, and buy locally when possible.

In fact, between VT's stories, recipes, profiles and even ads, I raised my food IQ. For vegetarians, it's probably a must-read. For the rest of us, it's a reminder that "organic" and "sustainable" matter. In truth, I won't join the u-pickers, who score their own fruits and vegetables at farms. If I have to sweat, I'll do it at the gym, which gives me the illusion of righteousness. As for the user-friendly, informative and non-preachy Vegetarian Times, it's a potent reminder that you are what you eat.


Published by: Cruz Bay Publishing

Frequency: 9 issues per year

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