Can Transsexuals Be Vegan?

Quote I found on a message forum:

“So one of my net friends (an omnivore) was teasing me about not being Vegan enough because I take hormones. Obviously I don’t use Premarin but the pills I do take (like most pills) are not Vegan. In addition to the horror of animal testing, Progynova (estradiol valerate) contains both lactose monohydrate, probably from a milk source, and magnesium stearate, which is probably from beef tallow. I don’t have the ingredient list anymore for my spironolactone but it almost certainly has animal products in it.

Now I don’t usually worry about the origin of funny chemicals that I can’t pronounce, mainly because I don’t eat things with funny chemicals that I can’t pronounce in them. However, I do choose to take hormones to modify my body — it’s not like I’m on anti-rejection drugs or heart medication and I’ll die if I don’t take them”

Transsexuals are people who suffer from severe gender dysphoria, and as a result take hormones in order to transition from male to female. The hormones help give a feminine appearance, and is very effective at treating dysphoria.

The main issue arises from the notion that they are not required medication, they are more along the line of anxiety drugs, but also different than that as well. There is no denying that while the medication does indeed help with depression and feelings of dysphoria, their primary use is cosmetic. So at least in those terms, we have to wonder at which point is a cosmetic drug necessary, and what constitutes necessity.

There is of no debate that someone needing to take a heart medication that contains lactose or gelatin falls within this range, at least for 99% of vegans (There are always crazies) but the argument appears when mental illnesses come into play, as there is a rather large number of vegans who believe that in order to cure all of your medical and mental disorders, that all you have to do is eat Raw, or High Carb Low Fat, or Oil Free, or whatever. And no, veganism is not a cureall for schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc, etc.

In terms of replacements, I am not sure if there is a legitimate vegan option when it comes to hormones. Getting a vasectomy to stop the testosterone, thus reducing or eliminating your need for a testosterone blocker like Spirnolactone might be the only way to reduce the use of that one at least, and injectable estrogen might not have lactose in it (I cannot find evidence it does) but it is very expensive, and might not be a very viable option for most trans women. Not only has there been a shortage as of late, but it is easier to harm yourself with needles. I am not sure of the hormones used for Female to Male transitioning, but I am sure they are similar in context to what I am saying.

That said, I personally believe that Trans hormones would be a medical necessity, and even if you take the pills, you are still vegan. I do not in any way recommend for anyone to ever drop their use of medication simply because they are vegan, and most vegans I have talked to agrees with this.

In terms of animal suffering, 99.6% of animal use and abuse comes comes from farming practices. In relation to that, only 0.2% of animal use and abuse comes from laboratory testing and medicine making, according to a site called Animal Charity Evaluators. And according to PETA, one should not feel bad about trace amounts of animal products that might be in food, and the same can be said about medications.

You are still a vegan, regardless of if you are 99.9% vegan, or 99.7% vegan. It is impossible to live a life where you do no harm to anything ever, and many of us need medications to help us promote the vegan lifestyle and help as many animals as possible. You cannot help animals if you don’t help yourself.

That said, I am not talking about people who claim that they “need” eggs, dairy, or meat to survive, that’s a load of bollocks. But in terms of doctor prescribed medications, you need to do what you need to do.

In short: Yes, you can be transsexual and vegan. Veganism is not an exclusive purity club.

Bone Broth and Quitting Vegetarianism?

So this article I read on Food52 portrays the story of a vegetarian, or… ex vegetarian I should say, named Kate. Kate claimed that by refusing to eat meat and dairy that she got memory blanks, intense meat cravings, fatigue, and moodiness, up to the point of not being able to tell dry herbs apart.

She claimed she ate a really healthy diet full of Quinoa, Black Beans, Greens, etc, but still deteriorated this way, even though she also claimed to consume a lot of supplements. In comes the magical supplement, Bone Broth. She claims that just hours after consuming a single serving of bone broth, she was able to sleep through the night, and the very next day she claimed she had the energy to go for a hike.

In fact, a commenter on that article sums up my views on this quite well:

There is no magical nutritional ambrosia to be found in meat – and far, far less in “bone broth” (less pretentiously known as chicken or beef stock). Until you’ve had a complete and thorough medical workup (not just “talked to some Ayurvedic specialists”) to determine the reason for your symptoms, blaming them on an absence of meat in your diet is just intellectual dishonesty and a way to rationalize to yourself a decision you’re not comfortable with facing head-on. Because while it is certainly possible that there are a rare few people out there who *truly* aren’t able to sustain a properly designed, nutritionally complete and balanced, and calorically sufficient vegan/vegetarian diet (people with gastrointestinal disorders who can’t tolerate fiber, perhaps?), they are almost certainly quite rare, and whatever you want to tell yourself to make yourself feel better, it’s pretty darn unlikely that you are one of them – especially not if your problems were magically “solved” by ingesting some “bone broth”

Bruehe-1It might sound harsh, but it is completely accurate. Bone Broth has almost nothing in it, and nothing in it at all that doesn’t come, in higher quantities, in plants. And to claim that some vitamin, mineral, or protein deficiency one may have had suddenly aleved itself in less than 24 hours is ridiculous, and pseudoscientific. Such a claim makes me believe the symptoms of fatigue ad memory lapses Kate felt were due to the Nocebo effect, and not the diet. Meaning that she made herself sick.

Kate also had this to say:

For me, to argue that the killing and eating of meat is inherently unethical and environmentally unsound would be to discount cultures across the world. In Tanzania, eating meat is a sacred act, especially in a climate that’s inhospitable to plants. We have to create the space for other ways of being. There is no right or wrong way to eat.

Kate does not live in Tanzania, as far as I know she lives in America. A place filled to the brim with various plant-based meat and cheese alternatives, up to the point of literally having vegan cheesecake, vegan pepperoni, and vegan avocado-based ice-cream. In terms of ethics she has no excuse in terms of food availability or culture to not be vegetarian. If you simply don’t want to be vegetarian, than don’t be. But don’t hide behind irrational and pseudo-scientific arguments to justify your actions.

Just because something is “cultural” doesn’t mean we should turn our eyes to it either. It is Culturally Appropriate in many third world countries to beat your wife, or stone your daughter if she was raped. Culture is not an excuse for unethical behavior. The only real argument against a plant-based diet is “I don’t care about animals, this meat tastes good,” and it’s a poor argument, but hey, I am not going to force you to eat spinach.

I do agree with Kate on something though. Labels are getting too much, and this has been seen in various different platforms. For example, Henya Mania and Nikocado Avocado, two prominent vegan YouTubers, are quitting YouTube and social media because of attacks they are getting by fellow vegans who think they are not vegan enough because of HOW they eat. Such as eating processed foods, not eating raw, consuming GMO’s, eating too much fat, not eating HCLF, eating soy, etc, etc. The pressure on many prominent vegans is very high to eat a certain way, act a certain way, that even Unnatural Vegan was called out at one point for not being angry enough in her videos.

One should try to best to reduce animal suffering, regardless of if they are strict vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, reduciterian, engage in meatless monday, or anything of the like. Anything helps. But if you want to leave what you have considered your label of choice, just do it. Don’t make some cock-and-bull justification and magical (Conveniently currently popular) dietary cure-all excuse for why you are not eating a certain way.

Italy Seeks To Make Vegan Children Illegal?

Feeding your kid a vegan or vegetarian diet may be against the law in Italy, as a law maker proposes that vegan diets are somehow harmful to children. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been instances where negligent parents feed their kid a diet lacking in nutrients and as a result the child can develop severe deficiencies, such as in this case of a child being fed nothing but almond milk and as a result developing scurvy.

But in every case where a child on a vegan diet is made sick, it has nothing to do with the fact that the diet is vegan, and more to do with the fact that the diet is inadequate. As I have mentioned in the case of the child fed only one brand of almond milk for like, 11 months.

Now in Italy, 10% are Obese while at least 40% are overweight, as of statistics in 2014. The rate of consumption of animal products is on the rise alongside the rise in obesity. The reason the rates are not higher is due to Italy having more of a cultural emphasis on walking and bike riding, as well as traditional Italian cuisine of foods with less meat in them and more dairy, as opposed to the United States. Even then, the rates of Childhood Overweightness and Obesity is higher in Italy than in the US. That said, Italy is still feeling the growing effects of a wide nutritional deficiency.

Aside from high rates of being overweight, which can increase your rate of all cause mortality significantly, a study on the dietary pattern in central Italy in 2008 showed that the Standard Italian Diet is deficient in Calcium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin D, Folate, Fiber, and Vitamin E.

If Italy is going to make it illegal for a parent to “force” their vegan diet on children, even a perfectly healthy vegan diet, on the assumption that vegan diets are “inadequate,” than the same law should put in prison every parent with an overweight or nutritionally deficient child, otherwise known as at least half of the Italian population.

It is also now known that red meat is a carcinogen, eggs are unhealthy in large intervals, egg yolks are unhealthy altogether, dairy increases the risk for ovarian and prostate cancer, fish has Mercury, and even chicken cooked at high temperatures contain a carcinogen. All of the most rigorous of scientific research has proved this to be true. But even if it was not, there is no reason to make feeding your child a vegan diet illegal. This just preys on the fear that makes allowing children to play outside unsupervised illegal, it’s dumb.

Veganism isn’t even a radical option. Back in the day where supplements were rare and veganism was only possible by eating nothing but beans, I’d understand the fear more. But today there are highly vitamin fortified vegan meat and dairy replacements, ranging from black bean burgers to Seitan. Vegans are fine. It takes very little to no effort to be a vegan, even on a low budget.

This legislation seems only to focus on vegans, and not any other practitioner of any other diet forced on children, including forcing children to eat all the food on their plates, which is known to make children have a higher future risk of eating disorders. Other diets forced on children are Gluten Free diets, juice cleanses, Paleo, etc. Here is a cookbook that was pulled after health professionals expressed fear over the fact that some practitioners are Paleo are forcing their babies to consume formula mixed with raw chicken liver and bone broth.

But stuff like this is ignored, only the malnourished vegan diet, that is not based on guidelines and is not healthy, are the ones that are mentioned. But healthy vegan kids are having their parents locked up regardless, because of a few bad parents who are ignorant about how nutrition works.

Banning vegan children diets is authoritarian, and only harms the people who are not harming anyone by letting their kids eat vegan. If we are going to do anything, arrest ONLY vegans who’s diet leads to the harm of their children.

Eating Vegan At: Dairy Queen, Auntie Anne's, Starbucks

There was very little reason for me to seperate these into different posts as I would have to strech it to fit a character limit due to the small amount of items, but I will combine these snack places for a better and longer article.

Dairy Queen

You would not think Dairy Queen would have anything vegan at all, mainly because Dairy is incorporated right into the brand name, but you can get a few good finds at your local DQ, such as:

  • Arctic Rush Frozen Beverage
  • All Light Smoothies
  • Lemonade Chillers
  • Side Salad
  • Fries
  • Banana
  • Hashbrowns

The oil that they use is Soybean oil, so at least that isn’t beef tallow or lard.

as a whole I’d give this restaurant a 4 out of 10, because at least you can eat a good dessert meal here without having to sit down and watch everyone else eat ice cream in front of you.

Auntie Anne’s.

Nothing tastes as good as a pretzel while you are walking through the mall, the issue however, is if that pretzel has eggs or milk in it.

Good news and bad news, the good news is that the original, cinnamon sugar, almond, raisin, and jalapeno pretzels are all vegan!…. IF you say that you want it without butter on it. ore good news is that you don’t have to eat it dryer than a plain hamburger without cheese, as the Marinara and Sweet Pretzel dips are both vegan.

Most of their drinks, AND their frozen lemonaid, are vegan as well, so you can have a hot pretzel with a cold dessert side here!

I’d give this snack bar a 8 out of 10, because who doesn’t like a good huge pretzel?

Starbucks

Starbucks is odd, because even if you ask for a product with soymilk, much of the time you STILL get milk in it:

milk

So really, what’s the point?

You can get teas with soymilk, as well as cafe americano, espresso, caffe latte, as well as regular coffee all with with soymilk as vegan. You can also get the fruit frappucino and the starbucks refresha, which are both vegan as well.

Starbucks is a good place to go for a quick coffee, but to be honest I recommend just making a cup of coffee at home and adding in almond milk and sucralose.

I’d give Starbucks a 2 out of 10, mainly because of a lack of options and overpriced coffee.

 

Plant Sterols and Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease?

Plant sterols, also known as Phytosterols, or Plant-Based Cholesterol, is seen to be as bad cholesterol in meat in many cases, and worse in others. Wonderful and totally non-biased sources (ha!) such as Authority Nutrition give these phytosterols a particularly bad rap, but why?

Because Phytosterols are biologically similar, but not equal to, dietary cholesterol, and gives them a good dead horse to beat up on while trying to make a poorly-lined excuse to continue high consumption of cholesterol-ridden foods. No well-researched scientific health and nutrition organization is interested in the almost non-existance health effects of Phytosterols, but the people who DO enjoy mentioning this often are almost always low-carb enthusiasts.

Phytosterols are not absorbed by our bodies in any more than trace amounts because biomarkers in our liver realize that human’s are not plants, so why do low-carbers even bring this up? Easy: Sitosterolemia.

What is Sitosterolemia? It’s a very rare inherited autosomal disorder that has only been known to affect 80 people since it was first discovered in 1974. It is basically useless in a comparison between dietary cholesterol, which is connected with Saturated Fat, both of which are connected with increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease in hundreds of millions of people who live with heart disease. But this is the low-carb way of saying “PLANTS HAVE CHOLESTEROL TOO!” and that is just pathetic. But hey, don’t take my word for it!

Two systematic reviews were done, one on phytosterols and their risk for cardiovascular disease, and one on phytosterols as a potential effect on inflammation, both of them concluded “Our systematic review and meta-analysis did not reveal any evidence of an association between serum concentrations of plant sterols and risk of CVD.”, regardless of what observational studies Authority Nutrition might link to, and the one on inflammation even showed that the consumption of phytosterols lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. This is something that is also mentioned by the European Atherosclerosis Society. But Authority Nutrition seems to think that is a bad thing:

“However, it’s important to realize that cholesterol levels are just a risk factor for heart disease.

Just because something has positive effects on a risk factor for a disease, it does not guarantee that it prevents the actual disease.”

That’s EXACTLY what it means! Saying this is like saying that smoking is just a risk factor for developing lung cancer, so lowering the amount of cigarettes you smoke per day does not guarantee a lower risk for lung cancer. Or that consuming processed red meat is just a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and does not guarantee that it will prevent colorectal cancer if you don’t eat it. It’s a “it won’t stop it 100%, so why bother” kind of attitude. “An evidence-based approach” hm? This article was written in 2015 so it’s not like they didn’t have those systematic reviews available, they just ignored them.

Foods that are high in phytosterols are vegetable oils, avocado, olives, and other high fat plant foods, which should not be eaten en masse anyways, but are a good food to have in moderation.

According to the bulk of the evidence, phytosterols are NOT a nutrient of concern. So you don’t need to worry or even think about them at all.

Baby Develops Scurvy After Diet Of Almond Milk

So a single baby in Spain developed a skin rash after 2 1/2 months after drinking regular formula, so a doctor recommended almond milk formula. The parents, being ignorant, fed the child absolutely nothing else but this one type of almond milk formula when the baby did not eat solid foods by 6 months. The baby was fine at 7 months, but was kept on only the almond milk formula until the age of 11 months, when moving his limbs caused the baby to start crying.

A checkup by the doctor later revealed that the baby developed scurvy, or in other words, Vitamin C Deficiency, along with knee fractures and brittle bones. News outlets have been reporting on this over and over, and what is the constant theme?

The lesson? Babies can’t develop normally on a plant-based diet.

Really? So the issue is not that the baby only consumed Almond Milk, it MUST be the fact of a plant-based diet. Right? Wrong.

“The issue here is not one of a plant-based diet being inadequate or inappropriate, but rather the absence of formula and/or breast milk in this infant’s diet,” Las Vegas-based dietitian Andy Bellatti, unaffiliated with the Spanish case study, wrote in an email. He noted that cow milk also lacks vitamin C.

The Spanish case study authors write that if fruits, which contain vitamin C, formula or breast milk had supplemented this baby’s diet, he would have had his vitamin C needs met.

Even the American Dietetic Association claims:

…appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

So the issue is not with the fact that the infant was fed almond milk, the issue was with the fact that the infant was fed ONLY almond milk. Not even almond milk with blended fruit or anything like that.

This story of a single EXTREMELY rare case, should not in any way be used to show that vegan diets are inadequate for infants. Well planned vegan diets work just fine.

Medicinal Mythology: Ginger Ale and Upset Stomachs

Does Ginger Ale really help alleviate the symptoms of an upset stomach? The answer is… maybe?

There is very little evidence even pertaining to this claim, despite even the National Library of Medicine itself parroting the claim, but I can tell you that if it has anything to do with the Ginger in the soda, most versions of Ginger Ale doesn’t have any. Canada Dry Ginger Ale seems to be one of the only versions to actually claim to have real ginger in it, but it is then that we run into a snag.

Ginger itself is known to have a slight benefit in alleviating an upset stomach, and even that is ginger in very small quantities, and very few benefits. The issue we run into is whether or not Canada Dry really has ginger in it. They claim that they do, but it’s not even mentioned in the ingredients list, unless it is coupled on the bottom with “Natural Flavors.” If that is the case, then how much ginger is is Canada Dry Ginger Ale?

It took me a few minutes, but I found Canada Dry Motts FAQ, which states:

ale

So according to this information, there might not even be a single gram of Ginger in a whole 12 oz can! Science has shown that simply 0.5 grams of ginger can help alleviate symptoms of an upset stomach, but since you have to sip the drink when you have an upset stomach in order to not induce vomiting, and drink the soda flat, you might not be getting enough ginger in anyways. Even Canada Dry Motts says

“We are not claiming any health benefits of ginger in Ginger Ale.”

Ginger Ale is not even a healthy drink anyways, as it contains quite a lot of calories from sugar, and very little else. If you want any benefits of Ginger, just buy some Ginger Root and boil it for a few minutes. It’s not as if ginger is expensive or hard to find.