POSTSCRIPT / January 12, 2012 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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How is the economy under GMA’s student?

GMA PAPER: Amid a widespread feeling of being caught in an ebbing economic tide, a paper of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, PhD, on the economy will be presented in a colloquium at 10 a.m. today at the Sampaguita Room of the Manila Hotel.

The paper, which the now Pampanga congresswoman wrote while recuperating from a series of surgeries and while under detention, will be read by Dr. Gonzalo Jurado, a UP economics professor.

By the way, President Noynoy Aquino was a student of Ms Arroyo, then his economics professor at the Ateneo. What was his grade? I have information on that, but I guess that is now another closely guarded state secret.

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MORE FUN IN VEGAN: After feasting through the Yule holidays, it may be logical to starve our system. Not really to starve in the sense of drastically scaling down our eating volume and speed, but to selectively pick what we eat.

This reminder to slow down and be choosy may be unnecessary for picky vegetarians and those on prolonged diet. So we go a step farther and talk vegan. After all, It is More Fun in Being Vegan in the Philippines!

Without intending to talk down to anyone, we offer the footnote to the uninitiated that if “vegetarian” refers to those who eat only, or mostly (when they cheat), food derived from plants, “vegans” are a kind of vegetarian fundamentalists who go to the far end and totally avoid dairy products, eggs, and veggies cooked or prepared using animal fat. It is quite a rigorous discipline.

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VEGAN FARE: Is being vegan healthy? Generally, yes. Some of you may dispute this, but Vegans tend to be healthier than those who eat animal products. Studies show that, as a rule, they have a lower risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and metabolic and digestive disorders.

Vegans are usually leaner and have lower blood cholesterol concentrations than comparable non-vegetarians.

Properly planned, a vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate, even for children and pregnant and lactating women. But care must be taken to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency since no plant contains the vitamin. This is solved by taking B12 supplements made by bacterial fermentation.

A vegan diet excludes dairy items because cattle have to be slaughtered to produce them. To lactate, a cow will have to give birth to a calf, which is later slaughtered for meat. The cows suffer the same fate when they fail to conceive or develop some health problems. As for eggs, producing them involves the killing of male chicks and of old laying hens.

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ANIMAL RIGHTS: I was talking with Ashley Fruno, senior campaigner of PETA Asia, about their group (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and learned more about veganism.

PETA Asia is an affiliate of PETA US, the world’s largest animal rights organization, which has more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide. It operates under the principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.

But what caught my attention was not animal rights, but Ashley’s listing of vegan desserts.

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JUST DESSERTS: At the risk of this column looking like a carte du jour, here they are:

Pipino’s Chocolate Chip Cookie – Among the best cookies in town. Pipino also offers vegan chocolate cake and green tea cupcakes. Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino: 39 Malingap St., Teachers Village, Quezon City; (02) 441-1773.

Chocolate Fire’s Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries — While the dark chocolate at Chocolate Fire is dairy-free, the chocolate-covered strawberries are a must to sample. Also try the soy mocha. Chocolate Fire: Grnd level, PDCP Bldg., Leviste & Rufino Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati; (02) 840-3473.

Coconut House’s Coco Loco Dairy-Free Ice Cream –No one will miss the milk in this luscious and creamy dairy-free ice cream. They also offer easy-to-veganize items, such as a veggie tofu scramble. Coconut House: Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City; (02) 392-4115.

Heart2Hearth’s Chocolate Banana Cupcake — A no-fail flavor combination that kids & adults are sure to love. Visit Heart2Hearth at the Salcedo Saturday Market and stock up on treats for the week. Other vegan cupcakes, cookies, and savory dishes are also available. Heart2Hearth: Salcedo Saturday Market, J. Velasquez Park, Makati; 09178053865.

Vegan Polvoron From Dr. Tam’s Vegan House — A cruelty-free and healthier take on the traditional Pinoy candy, this is the perfect treat to top off some of Dr. Tam’s famous kare kare. Dr. Tam’s Vegan House: Metrowalk, 2nd floor, Meralco Ave., Pasig; (02) 633-9877.

Corner Tree Café’s Chocolate Cake — Scrumptious chocolate cake topped with creamy chocolate frosting — nirvana for chocolate lovers! Corner Tree Café: 150 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati; (02) 897-0295.

Gelatissimo’s Dark Chocolate Sorbet — Gelatissimo offers several other dairy-free flavors, including strawberry, guava, raspberry, and green apple. Gelatissimo locations: Ayala Center, Cebu SM City, Greenbelt 5, Trinoma, and Piazza Serendra in Fort Bonifacio.

Strawberry Soy Ice Cream Milkshake from Chimara Neo-Vegan Café — What could be a better treat while watching a movie? Other flavors include chocolate, vanilla & green tea. Chimara Neo-Vegan Café: 4/F Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas & Legaspi Sts., Ayala Center, Makati; (02) 757-5652.

Starbucks’ Dark Mocha Soy Frappe — While it may be described as a coffee drink, it’s really more like ice cream with a kick! Starbucks branches nationwide.

Mango Sticky Rice from People’s Palace — This traditional Thai dessert is made from sweet sticky rice, coconut cream, and ripe mangoes. People’s Palace also has an outstanding vegetarian menu. People’s Palace: GF on the garden side, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati; (02) 729-2888.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 12, 2012)

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