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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegetarianism in the News

April 1, 2007 -- Vegparadise News Bureau

Vegetarians in Paradise Announces
Birdbrain Awards for 2007

Not a week seems to pass without some organization dispensing awards to honor individual achievements. The movie industry has its Academy Awards; the recording industry has its Grammy Awards; journalism has its Pulitzer Prizes; and the world has its Nobel Prizes.

Vegetarians in Paradise hesitates to add to this maze of prizes, but feels the urgency to recognize dubious achievements in social progress. After much deliberation we have created a new distinction we are calling the Birdbrain Award. Amassing far too many ballots to count, we announce the results that have been uncertified by accounting firm TD Waterhose.

White Mustache Award

National Dairy Council

For changing the way America thinks about dieting, the National Dairy Council wins the White Mustache Award. Downing three glasses of milk daily, any dieter can easily shed many pounds by starving on 1500 calories a day with almost 300 of them from the milk. The National Dairy Council has solid research to back up its claim, and that research didn't come cheap. Paying Dr. Michael Zemel, director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, a tidy sum brought the type of results and the mustache they wanted. See http://www.vegparadise.com/news47.html

Crumbling Cookie Award

Right Direction Cookie

How many dieticians does it take to create a cookie designed to lower your cholesterol? In this case it takes two, one of whom is a diabetic. Their basic idea is to persuade people to eat two Right Direction Cookies brimming with plant sterols every day and watch their cholesterol drop. No one seemed to recognize that eating "real foods" like fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds would do the same job. When these cookies originally emerged from the kitchen lab, they also contained trans fat. They have now been reformulated to eliminate trans fat. But they haven't nixed the saturated fat. Each cookie still has 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams saturated. Weighing in with 160 calories each, these little diet torpedoes have 38% calories from fat. Eating a product with unbleached white flour and 12 grams of sugar doesn't seem like the right direction for anyone battling heart disease or diabetes. The magic ingredient is quite moving, psyllium husk powder, also found in in a laxitive called Metamucil. The warning on the Right Direction Cookie package is quite reassuring. "Take this product with at least 8 oz. (a full glass) of your favorite beverage. Taking without enough liquid may cause choking. Do not take if you have difficulty swallowing." The recommended two cookies a day at a dolllar each may also be hard to swallow. See http://www.vegparadise.com/news59.html for more details.

Truth-in-Gelatin Award

Emes Kosher Products /Illinois Attorney General's Office

For skillfully bamboozling the public for years into believing its Kosher Jel was vegetarian and getting away with it, Emes Kosher Products receives the Truth-in-Gelatin Award. The problem is finding the officers, or should we say fugitives, to present them with this illustrious prize. The award is shared by the office of the Illinois Attorney General for its tireless and massive efforts in bringing these small-time crooks to justice. Their technique of sending form letters and postcards to people who complained about this company was an example of law enforcement at its finest. The attorney general's office has the undying gratitude of thousands deceived by Emes for allowing these frauds to slip away into the night with no fear of prosecution. See http://www.vegparadise.com/news56.html for more details.

Marie Antoinette Let Them Eat Pizza
and Hamburgers Award

Los Angeles Public Library

The Los Angeles Public Library has the solution for the obesity epidemic in American children. Just encourage them to read by giving them hamburgers and pizza. While awarding these coupon prizes, they announce, "We would not put ourselves in the position to judge the nutritional value of the food being offered or to ultimately decide whether to take a child to the restaurant or not. It is up to the parent or guardian to determine whether they will use the coupon, what will be ordered, and how much will be consumed." For acting as a shill for fast food companies and for encouraging healthful eating habits for young American readers, the Los Angeles Public Library receives the Marie Antoinette Let Them Eat Pizza and Hamburgers Award. See http://www.vegparadise.com/news29.html and http://www.vegparadise.com/news63.html

Divine Dining Delights Awards

Restaurant Grand Sweepstakes Award

Heart Attack Grill

You don't have to be concerned when you swallow that Quadruple Bypass Burger. This remarkable sandwich has four half-pound beef patties, four slices of cheddar cheese, four layers of bacon (12 slices), four layers of gourmet red onion, four slices of beefsteak tomato, gourmet sauce, and a freshly baked bun and is claimed by the restaurant to contain 8000 calories. To complete your meal, you can enjoy Flatliner Fries deep-fried in pure lard and topped with melted mozzarella cheese and beef gravy. After eating a Quadruple Bypass Burger, you have the opportunity to have a pseudo-nurse push you out to your car in a special wheelchair. You may also want to enlist her to drive you all the way to the nearest hospital emergency room. For its unparalleled contribution to human health, the Heart Attack Grill wins the Restaurant Grand Sweepstakes Award. See http://www.vegparadise.com/news66.html

Colossal Food Nightmare Award

Ruby Tuesday Restaurants

Ruby Tuesday Restaurants is the unopposed winner of the Colossal Food Nightmare Award for placing two gargantuan bad dreams on its menu: the Fresh Chicken and Broccoli Pasta and the Colossal Burger. The Chicken and Broccoli Pasta receives a special trophy for packing 2061 calories with 128 grams of fat, 77 to 90 saturated, into one heart-healthy main dish. The Colossal Burger weighing in with 1940 calories and 141 grams of fat, 71 to 106 saturated, puts more than a day's eating into one sandwich. Ignoring the hysterical claims of an obesity epidemic, Ruby Tuesday has decided to feed the malnourished and underfed, a neglected group in this country's population.

Super Sodium Salty Dog Gold Award

Romano's Macaroni Grill

Romano's Macaroni Grill emerges from the salt mines to capture the Super Sodium Salty Dog Gold Award with its Twice Baked Lasagna with Meatballs. This entree delivers more than two day's worth sodium in this pasta blood pressure extender. With 3900 milligrams of sodium along with 1360 calories and 38 grams of saturated fat, this creation will make any cardiologist happy to make your acquaintance.

Super Sodium Salty Dog Silver and Bronze Awards

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina

The Runner-up receiving the Super Sodium Salty Dog Silver and Bronze Awards is On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina with its Ranchiladas and Double Stacked Quesadillas. The Ranchilada begins with an 8-ounce steak splashed with ranchero sauce and cheese. Accompanying it are two cheese enchiladas, chile con carne, rice, and a choice of refried or black beans, both with cheese. Ninety milligrams shy of the front-runner, Ranchiladas still amassed a total of 3810 milligrams of sodium along with 1870 calories and 46 grams of saturated fat. What it lacks in sodium, it makes up for in calories. Eat three entrees a day like this one and you won't find a scale to hold you.

On the Border is no shrinking violet when it comes to emptying the saltshaker. The Double Stacked Quesadillas is not only stacked with sodium, it's also loaded with fajita chicken, cheese, crumbled bacon, fresh avocado, sour cream, and ranch dressing. Its sodium count is only 3440 milligrams, but its calorie total of 1860 and its 52 grams of saturated fat place it in the big leagues when it comes to massive dining.

Most Original Itsy Bitsy Appetizer

UNO Chicago Grill

Imagine a tiny appetizer that whets your appetite for the main dish, but don't imagine this one. The Pizza Skins from UNO Chicago Grill could be a feast for a mob of hungry omnivores. The base of this pizza is a deep-dish crust layered with mozzarella cheese, mashed potatoes, bacon, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Its 2050 calories, 3140 milligrams of sodium, and 48 grams of saturated fat also place the restaurant in contention for a main dish award. It takes real talent to create an appetizer that has more calories than a day's worth of eating.

The Lick Your Fingers Sensible Dessert Gold and Silver Awards

The Cheesecake Factory and Cold Stone Creamery

The votes are in and it was a nip and tuck contest between The Cheesecake Factory Chris's Outrageous Chocolate Cake and the Cold Stone Creamery Gotta Have It Founder's Favorite. The nip and tuck may have to come from the plastic surgeon after you swallow either of these desserts.

Gold medal honors went to the Cold Stone Creamery entry that boasted 1740 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat with 4 grams of trans fat. Cheesecake Factory nabbed the silver award with numbers like 1380 calories and 33 grams of saturated fat and 5 grams of trans fat. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 1 percent of your total daily calories be trans fat. If you consume 2,000 calories a day, you should strive for less than 2 grams of trans fat.

The Founders favorite begins with a waffle bowl filled with a 14-ounce pile of ice cream covered with pecans, brownie pieces, fudge, and caramel. Each five-inch high, three-quarter-pound-slice of Outrageous Chocolate Cake reveals generous layers of chocolate cake, chewy brownie, toasted coconut pecan pie filling, and creamy coconut cheesecake.

We imagined the calories in a meal beginning with a Pizza Skins, followed by Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, and concluding with Gotta Have It Founder's Favorite. Since the numbers were so staggering, we had to pass them by our accountant. His response was 5851 calories, or enough to feed three people for one day. When we asked him to compute the total fat and sodium, he ran from the room shreiking.

One can't help wondering how much more obscene restaurant menus will become to satisfy the hunger of people who can't possibly rationally consume these gigantic portions of food. No wonder there is a health crisis. In one dish people are consuming more food, fat, sugar, and salt than they need to eat in an entire day.

And next year's Birdbrain Award winners will be…

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