the vegan adventures

the vegan adventure, day 1 (2012-09-12)

–from wikipediaetymology and history–‘The term ethical vegan or lifestyle vegan is often applied to someone who not only follows a vegan diet, but extends the vegan philosophy into other areas of their life. Another term used is environmental veganism, which refers to the rejection of animal products on the premise that the industrial exploitation of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.’ 1944–non-dairy vegetarian; 1951–no eggs; 1960–ahimsa, the avoidance of violence against living things.

everywhere i turn it seems there’s this debate between what i call popularity versus purity. here, there’s a divide in ethical vegans between those who will use no non-human products at any cost and those in the paris exemption, as supported by singer (right). closer to home, do you get a tim’s or a fair trade coffee? (for that matter, within the fair trade movement, should all coffee–or bananas or grapefruit or chocolate, etc–come from small, family-owned farms, or are plantations with its hired workers okay?) small is beautiful, but is it passe or is it the way of the future? or is it possible to be big and beautiful? like nature’s path cereals. well, sort of big. and who decides what is beautiful? to be really pure i suppose we should be eating nuts and berries.

‘Well-planned vegan diets have been found to offer protection against many degenerative conditions, including heart disease, and are regarded by the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals, and lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Because plant foods tend not to contain significant amounts of B12, researchers agree that vegans should eat foods fortified with B12 or take a daily supplement…. In 1886 the Society published the influential A Plea for Vegetarianism by the English campaigner Henry Salt (right), one of the first writers to make the paradigm shift from animal welfare to animal rights…. in 1912 the editor of TVMHR started a debate among readers as to whether vegetarians ought to avoid eggs and dairy….: “The defence of the use of eggs and milk by vegetarians, so far as it has been offered here, is not satisfactory. The only true way is to live on cereals, pulse, fruit, nuts and vegetables.” The journal wrote in 1923 that the “ideal position for vegetarians is abstinence from animal products.” ‘ in 1931 Gandhi (left) argued that a meat-free diet is a moral issue, not as an issue of human health. in 1944 Watson (right) decided on “vegan” – ‘as Watson put it in 2004, “the beginning and end of vegetarian.” … In 1951 the British Vegan Society broadened its definition of veganism to “the doctrine that man [sic] should live without exploiting animals.” Leslie Cross, the society’s vice-president wrote that veganism is a principle, that it is “not so much about welfare [of animals] as liberation.” The society pledged to “seek to end the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection and all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man.” Members were expected to declare themselves in agreement and to live as closely to the ideal as they could.’

health concerns

Vitamin B12

Further information: Vitamin B12 deficiency

The Vegan Society and Vegan Outreach recommend that vegans eat foods fortified with B12, such as fortified soy milk or cereal, or take a supplement. B12 is a bacterial product that cannot be found reliably in plant foods, and is needed for the formation and maturation of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA, and for normal nerve function

Iodine

Further information: Iodine deficiency

Iodine supplementation may be necessary for vegans in countries where salt is not typically iodized, where it is iodized at low levels, or where, as in Britain or Ireland, dairy products are relied upon for iodine delivery because of low levels in the soil.[44] Iodine can be obtained from most vegan multivitamins or from regular consumption of seaweeds, such as kelp.[49]

Calcium

Pumpkin seed-crusted lentil patties with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and salad.

Vegans are advised to eat three servings per day of a high-calcium food, such as fortified soy milk, almonds, and hazelnuts, and take a calcium supplement as necessary.The EPIC-Oxford study suggested that vegans have an increased risk of bone fractures over meat eaters and vegetarians, likely because of lower dietary calcium intake, but that vegans consuming more than 525 mg/day have a risk of fractures similar to that of other groups.

Vitamin D

Vegan Outreach writes that light-skinned people can obtain adequate amounts of vitamin D by spending 10–15 minutes in sunlight each day; dark-skinned people 20 minutes; and the elderly 30 minutes. Otherwise, supplements of between 400 and 1,000 IU are recommended, because most vegan diets contain little or no vitamin D without supplements or fortified foods.

Iron

The iron status of meat-eaters and vegans appears to be similar, and body absorption processes may adjust to lower intakes over time by enhancing absorption efficiency.[55] Molasses is a high-iron food source and many vegans take it in spoonfuls as an iron supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids

To ensure adequate consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, Vegan Outreach advises vegans to consume 0.5 g of alpha-linolenic acid daily by eating, for example, 1/4 teaspoon of flaxseed oil, and to use oils containing low amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, such as olive, canola, avocado, or peanut oil.

 famous vegans include carl, sir paul, woody, avril, joaquin, natalie, bill, ellen, etc–they can afford it, but can i? can i not? 2012-11-01–World Vegan Day–is an auspicious day to find out.

next:

  • different types of veganism
  • recipes and stuff for the grocery list
    • Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after cardiac surgery; his daughter Chelsea was already a vegan. His diet…: mostly beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruit, and a daily drink of almond milk, fruit, and protein powder.’
  • what to do year-round
  • resources and stuff

the vegan adventure, days 2&3 (2012-09-13&14)

different types of veganism

  • dietary–‘Dietary vegans eat an entirely plant-based diet—either for health reasons or out of concern for animal welfare—but may continue to use animal products for other purposes.’
  • ethical–‘Ethical vegans see veganism as a philosophy, lifestyle, and set of principles, not simply a diet.’
    • the “Paris exemption”–some say purity alienates and is impossible; they instead support the ‘Paris exemption’–‘if you find yourself in a fine restaurant …  without access to vegan food, going vegetarian instead is acceptable.’
  • environmental–‘Veganism … consumes fewer resources and causes less environmental damage.’

b12. uh oh. speed bump ahead.  ‘While vegetarians often get enough B12 through consuming dairy products, the existing scientific evidence suggests that vegans will almost certainly experience a B12 deficiency unless they consume B12-containing dietary supplements or B12-fortified foods.’ (src-2012-09-14-wp)

that’s pretty serious, b12 deficiency. like, fatal. that’s pretty serious. i’m already a vegetarian, lacto, tho i’m not opposed to eating eggs from free-range hens. being a veg is easy, being a vegan is not. is that cuz i’m cheap and lazy? cheap, yes; lazy, no. cuz i have way less disposable income than celebs, i have fewer options and thus greater priorities, which i guess says something about my values. i like purity, but not to extremes. Bruce Friedrich of PETA (quoted in wp, 2012-09-14) argues that strict veganism can become an obsession:

[W]e all know people whose reason for not going vegan is that they “can’t” give up cheese or ice cream. … Instead of encouraging them to stop eating all other animal products besides cheese or ice cream, we preach to them about the oppression of dairy cows. Then we go on about how we don’t eat sugar or a veggie burger because of the bun, even though a tiny bit of butter flavor in a bun contributes to significantly less suffering than any non-organic fruit or vegetable does or a plastic bottle or about 100 other things that most of us use. Our fanatical obsession with ingredients not only obscures the animals’ suffering—which was virtually non-existent for that tiny modicum of ingredient—but also nearly guarantees that those around us are not going to make any change at all. So, we’ve preserved our personal purity, but we’ve hurt animals—and that’s anti-vegan.

i can give up cheese and ice cream, but i still gotta get my b12. supplements and fortifications add to the cost. they’re also unnatural. all our food prior to the thirties was organic; it was also supplement-free. where did the b12 come from? meat and dairy. since i don’t eat meat, that leaves dairy. to go vegetarian is more than a compromise; it’s closer our natural path. but to go vegan is unnatural.

end of adventure? no. whether veg or vegan, both are just a drop in the bucket. the vast majority still eat meat and shop at a supermarket. but that’s unsustainable, whereas veg and vegan are sustainable. the adventure continues….

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