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IVU Online News - 2015 Issue #3


Come Join Us at 43rd World VegFest in Australia
Brazil and Latin American Vegfest in September
Sugar: A Global History by Andrew F Smith
Truffle: A Global History by Zachary Nowak
Goat by Joy Hinson (book review)
Dr Greger’s Next Compilation
The Vegan WMD
Matter of Skewed Perspective
Necessary Evil
You Know That Feel
Upcoming Events
Other Online Sources of Veg News

Come Join Us at 43rd World VegFest in Australia


IVU will be celebrating this year’s IVU World Vegfest in Australia, with our friends in Sydney and Melbourne who are organising two very impressive events in the second half of October and early November. Specifically, on 25 October, the Cruelty Free Festival will be held in Sydney ( and on 1 November, World Vegan Day celebrations will be conducted in Melbourne ( Members of the IVU International Council will be attending these events, and we urge all IVU member organisations to join us there. Additionally, to learn more about the many wonderful events in Australia around that same time, please have a look at ( Tours and other events are also being planned to coincide with the events and those interested can visit and for updates.

Brazil and Latin American Vegfest in September

logo vegfest
Touted as the largest vegetarian gathering in Latin America, this year’s instalment will be held in Recife from 23-26 September. There will be over 100 lectures on nutrition, activism, animal experimentation, social movements, environment, animal protection and vegetarian entrepreneurship, and American writer and philosopher Tom Regan will be the keynote speaker. In addition, there will be cooking workshops comprising delicious dishes capable of pleasing even the most enthusiastic carnivore, including several rawfood demonstrations. For professionals and students in the area of health - and for those who are curious, the Department of Medicine and Nutrition at SVB will conduct a six-hour training course in vegetarian nutrition coordinated by Dr. Eric Slywitch over the evenings of September 23 and 24. To top it all off, there will also be a vegan fair showcasing sweet and savory vegan food to eat during the day (or to take home), high-quality cosmetics developed without animal testing or ingredients, NGOs and companies presenting their work of activism or providing vegetarian-friendly products and services. To find out how to register and learn more about this event, please visit

Sugar: A Global History by Andrew F Smith
By Paul Appleby
Like many people, I must confess to having a sweet tooth (and the gaps in my teeth to show for it). This is hardly surprising when you discover that all 10,000 taste buds in the mouth have special receptors for sweetness. In short, humans have a built-in attraction to sweet foods, and don’t food manufacturers know it!

In Sugar: A Global History, New Yorker Andrew F Smith surveys the origins and history of this sweetest of plant foods, describing its many uses and the threat that excessive sugar consumption poses to good health. Sugar production has a long and chequered history. Originating in India around 2,500 years ago, sugar production gradually spread to China, the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean. However, it was after the discovery of the New World in the 15th and 16th centuries that sugar became a truly global commodity.

Brazil quickly became the world’s largest sugar producer, a position it maintains to this day, and for many years sugar played a major role in the infamous triangular trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas in which slaves from Africa were transported in appalling conditions to work on the sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations established by European settlers, the raw materials then being shipped for processing to Europe, from where manufactured goods were exported to Africa to purchase more slaves, perpetuating the cycle. It is a sobering fact that many European port cities such as London, Bristol, Bordeaux and Amsterdam acquired great wealth from this trade in human misery.

After the abolition of the slave trade in the 19th century contract workers provided the new labour force, but by then beet sugar produced from the root crop Beta vulgaris, which can be grown in temperate climates, provided European consumers with an alternative to cane sugar. Today, more sugar is refined in the UK from sugar beet than from imported sugar cane.

Sugar is used throughout the food industry. As well as its obvious use as a sweetener, it is a major ingredient of sweets, candies, confectionery, biscuits and cookies, doughnuts, cakes and desserts, ice cream, breakfast cereals, carbonated beverages, energy and sports drinks, the list is almost endless. No wonder that about 8 per cent of total calories consumed globally comes from sugar, an average of 17 teaspoonfuls (70 grams) per person per day. There is a price to pay for all this, of course, and sugar consumption has been implicated in many adverse health conditions including overweight and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and dental caries.

Nevertheless, despite the introduction of artificial sweeteners and calorie-free natural sweeteners such as stevia, sugar is likely to remain a significant part of the human diet. Short and sweet, Sugar makes perfect light reading for your morning or afternoon tea or coffee break. Now, was that one teaspoonful of sugar or two?

The hardcover book is published by Reaktion Books (2015) with 160 pages and 56 illustrations (31 in colour) and is priced at £10-99.

Truffle: A Global History by Zachary Nowak
By Paul Freestone
Why is it that certain foods become defined as luxurious, or associated with food snobs and exclusive restaurants? Usually, they are more expensive to produce or require special harvesting. There might be a limited number of places that offer the right soil and climate, or they are difficult to locate. The subject of this book hits several of these markers, but its appeal and 'food status' is very unusual. The truffle is one of the world's most prized ingredients, and this delightful book details its history.

Firstly, it definitely isn't very pretty to look at, and there is the story (possibly apocryphal) that when US President Harry Truman was sent a large sample as a special gift, he thought it was a mouldy potato and threw it away. If it's true then this is one of the worst (and most costly) examples of culinary vandalism ever recorded. Secondly, it's a fungal food but this really is the ultimate mushroom. Thirdly, it's the extraordinary flavour of truffles that highlights the triumph of taste over aesthetics.

The author clarifies the plant biology: "A truffle is a kind of mushroom, and all truffles are technically the reproductive body that produces spores. While most mushrooms have their 'fruiting body' above ground truffles hid theirs underground. Truffles make a biological deal with the tree among whose roots they grow." Although this mutual exchange of nutrients is described as "less than amicable" it allows the tree's roots to greatly expand. Crucially, the subterranean truffle doesn't require photosynthesis and it's very well hidden.

Obviously, being concealed underground is a huge advantage and increases its mystique and desirability, and for any potential truffle hunters the book features an illustrated identification guide that covers the seven most common types. Considering how valuable truffles are (the Italian Bianchetto commands a retail price of between £140 to £550 per kilo) it's hardly surprising that fraud is an increasing problem. Cheaper imposters can easily be substituted, especially 'the Chinese truffle' which will quickly absorb the flavour of the pricey French Perigord if the two are mixed together for just a few hours.

Chinese truffles are harvested unripe which drastically reduces their 'shelf life', and they can't develop "the rich suite of aromas" associated with the European varieties. Also, Chinese truffle hunters use rakes and this method causes huge damage to the soil and associated fragile ecosystems. Ironically, the author comments: "China might be the ultimate source of much of the world's truffle biodiversity".

Books in the Edible series are beautifully printed on excellent paper, and are the ideal size to slip into a pocket. They represent the perfect riposte to the e-book, which can be useful but simply cannot replace the incomparable tactile quality of the printed book. It is published in hardcover by Reaktion Books (2015), with 168 pages and 58 illustrations (48 in colour) and retails for £10-99.

Goat by Joy Hinson (book review)
By Paul Appleby
In this the Chinese year of the goat, Joy Hinson’s book makes a timely addition to Reaktion Books’ Animal series. People born in the year of the goat (which includes the reviewer) “are supposedly intelligent, calm, creative and dependable”, a description that is, of course, entirely accurate.

Goats are ruminants, closely related to sheep in the subfamily Caprinae, from which the part-fish, part-goat deity and tenth sign of the zodiac Capricorn takes its name. There are nine species of wild goat, most of which inhabit mountainous areas ranging from Western Europe to the Caucasus, the Middle East and Siberia. Several of these species are endangered or vulnerable, including the Nubian ibex, the only desert-dwelling species. In contrast, populations of feral goats (formerly domesticated animals that have escaped or been released into the wild) are very high in some parts of the world, where they can pose a serious threat to native flora and fauna.

Control measures range from active conservation (in the case of the Cretan wild goat) to a mixture of culling and commercial exploitation (Australia) or total eradication (the Galapagos islands). The domestic goat, a domesticated subspecies of the wild Bezoar ibex, is extremely numerous with a global population of more than 900 millions recorded in 2011. Goats were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated, evidence suggesting domestication dating back at least 10,000 years, and they have been exploited for their meat, milk, hair and hides ever since.

The independent, free-ranging nature of goats has meant that they have largely avoided the degradation of factory farming, although one goat farm in Yorkshire, England, keeps a herd of 3,500 goats that are reared indoors in custom-built sheds and milked twice daily in an automated milking parlour. Goats in Europe, India and Bangladesh are largely reared for their milk, although goats only produce about 2% of the world's total annual milk supply.

Although it enjoys a healthful reputation, “goat milk has both a high salt concentration and a very low concentration of folate”, and like other animal milks it is unsuitable for human infants. China is the largest global producer of goat meat, which is widely consumed in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, whilst two of the world’s most valued and expensive natural fibres, cashmere (also known as pashmina) and mohair, are made from goat hair. Goats are noted for their agility and sure-footedness, characteristics exemplified by remarkable photographs of goats standing on the near-vertical wall of a dam and perched precariously in the branches of an argan tree in Morocco (the oil-bearing argan nuts are collected from the goats’ faeces, a task considerably easier than extracting the kernels from the argan fruit itself). Goats are also used for development aid and as sporting and military mascots, and are even raced.

Every year, while two human crews slug it out on the River Thames in the University Boat Race, two goats from Spitalfields City Farm in London, one sporting the light blue of Cambridge and the other the dark blue of Oxford, run a short track through the farm for the entertainment of visitors in what might be loosely described as the ‘university goat race’.

Despite having no obvious affinity with goats, Joy Hinson, Director of the Centre for Academic and Professional Development at Queen Mary University of London, has written an entertaining, fact-filled and richly illustrated book. I kid you not, Goat is well worth reading. The book (ISBN 978-1-78023-338-3) is published by Reaktion Books as a 176-page paperback edition with 100 illustrations (74 in colour), retailing for £10.

Dr Greger’s Next Compilation
Dr. Michael Greger has just released the which will cover the following topics. Please visit to download a copy. While the digital download is valued at $20, you can get it free by indicating the voucher code V25FREEVIP at checkout.
1. Are Neutropenic Diets Necessary?
2. The Safety of Heme vs. Non-Heme Iron
3. Migratory Skin Worms from Sushi
4. Ginger for Migraines
5. How to Treat Kidney Stones with Diet
6. Solving a Colon Cancer Mystery
7. How to Treat High Blood Pressure
8. Music as Medicine
9. Diet and Hiatal Hernia
10. Stomach Stapling Kids
11. What Causes Diabetes?
12. Big Sugar Takes on World Health Org.
13. The Best-Kept Secret in Medicine
14. How Many Bowel Movements a Day?
15. Sit, Squat or Lean for Bowel Movements?
16. Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Reversed?
17. Peppermint Oil for Irritable Bowel
18. Flame Retardant Pollutants and Children
19. Preventing Brain Loss with B Vitamins?
20. Diverticulosis is a Choice
21. Does Fiber Really Prevent Diverticulosis?
22. Heart of Gold: Turmeric Curcumin
23. Can Dehydration Affect Our Mood?
24. Fish Consumption and Suicide
25. Does Rye Bread Protect Against Cancer?
26. Doctors Respond to Being Named Killers

The Vegan WMD

Matter of Skewed Perspective

Necessary Evil

You Know That Feel

Amsterdam Vegan Festival – 27 June, 2015 - Netherlands –

Berlin Vegan Summerfest
– 28-30 August, 2015 – Germany -

Other Online Sources of Veg News 

pic14In addition to IVU Online News, there are many other places to go online for general veg-related news, rather than news mostly about one country or one organisation. Here are some.

1. Meatout Mondays 

2. Vegan Outreach 

3. VegE-News  

4. VegNews  

5. VegSource  

6. doesn't have a newsletter, but they post stories daily at  


8. IVU-Veg-News E-Mail List  

9. Vegetarianism in the News  

10. IVU Veg News group on Yahoo! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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