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A thread in which we discuss ethics relating to a vegan lifestyle

I will warn you before this thread even starts, it's in food fight for a reason, as there will be PROS and CONS discussed about following any and all parts of a vegan lifestyle.

By the way, hi, vegweb! if you feel like banning me after I start this thread it's been a good time, thanks!

Basically, I would like to discuss how veganism came about in your life due to ethics, if you think it is all you can do, if you think it is truly the best thing ethically, etc.

I will start with my story and current feelings. I first went vegan for sustainability reasons. It hit me in a biology class that if I want to be sustainable (always one of my biggest passions), I will eat lowest in the trophic levels, this led to me being vegetarian and pretty much immediately going vegan. Vegan also came with a bit of an AR reason, since ultimately it was some PETA propaganda I picked up when looking for vegan recipes (I ate all vegan at home when I was LO veg, but would sometimes eat a brownie or something prepared by others). I also wanted to be vegan to be healthier, since I knew that it would cut a lot of shit out of my diet. In the years that followed, my reasons and diet have changed immensely (but always vegan--duh).

I still find sustainability to be a HUGE reason, though I am an ardent supporter of permaculture, and in a permacultural system, the sustainability argument holds little weight (in fact, some could say it would be less sustainable to not eat animals, though I do not know where I stand on that issue). I have a hard time getting produce from a permacultural system, which is unfortunate, since I would ideally only like to support agriculture that is that sustainable. I am currently working on growing pretty much all my own food,, but it will be a couple of years.

In terms of AR, obviously I believe that factory farming is wrong. I personally have just believe that we need to end our exploitation of animals and reliance on them for ANYTHING. I was just musing the other day how I think it funny that vegans will not eat some animal product that doesn't kill the animal but supports the killing of it systematically (like milk supporting the veal industry) but they all adopt their PETS ("companion animals") from shelters which euthanize the animals if no one gets them. Sure, you saved your animals life, but by keeping the pet system going you have killed countless others. I'm not trying to indict anyone here, but just showing how fine these ethical lines can be. I certainly think that it is wrong to kill an animal for nothing but our own pleasure, though I do not think that it would be wrong to kill an animal if we had to for something like self defense or if it is needed for human health (yes, I do think that our health is more important than an animals life, sorry, in order for any species to be successful they must eat what they are designed to with no regard for another species welfare).

Which I suppose brings me to my last point, health. Health has been the biggest thing keeping me vegan for the last 7 years. Why? Because, ethically, I do not think that there would be a problem eating foods that are going into the trash that are of animal origin. I am sure most people would agree with that statement. As I have worked in numerous food service establishments in the last 7 years I have had AMPLE opportunities to eat meat, diary, and eggs that was just thrown away (what a sad sad shame for those animals lives that had to give them up just to sit in a landfill, makes me want to cry just thinking about it). I have, especially in the last few years, preached veganism for health like there is no tomorrow. As many of you know, I took on a quite serious vegan diet, eating simply, low fat, low protein, high carb, no grains, tons of veggies and fruit, etc. I basically went on and off between that diet (basically all raw) and a more conventional McDougal type approach (Essylstein, Campbell... What they all teach)... The holy grail of health, right? Well, I did feel marginally better on the raw version (I think grains are the devil, for multiple reasons and I will get into that below), but have increasingly began to feel worse and worse. I can't really explain that much other than much more limited thinking ability and incredibly strong lethargy. I also thought back to when I first stopped regularly (daily) working out and it was, lo and behold, probably about 5 months after I first went vegan.
Well, I have a pretty strong opinion that supplements are bullshit, and since I was feeling not-so-super neurologically, I decided to get my b12 checked. LOW. You know what else was low? D... What the hell? I live in sunny San Diego and get TONS of sun. This was also at the end of the summer that I got tested, when one would probably have the highest levels of D from sunlight. So starts my distrust of veganism as the ultimate health plan. Sure, people see results reversing disease, or get healthier due to eliminating lots of other bad things from the diet, but how about long term? I started reading, and trying my best to not let my bias towards veganism sway what I was reading and I found.. A lot. So many people have health problems on vegan diets. And I found this gem http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/ (<--- Do not read this unless you want to forever not trust Dr. Campbell again) and read that and her critique of the chine study. Well! Looks like the basis of why veganism is healthier is a little sham-y.

Then, I found this interview, which led me to posting this thread. http://letthemeatmeat.com/post/863965328/interview-with-an-ex-vegan-tovar-cerulli I agree with what much of this guy says. I have long avoided grains because I do not thing, as a vegan, they are ethical both because of stolen habitat from animals, and then because the machines used in harvesting kill many many animals. All of my reasons for eschewing grains came flooding back to me when I was reading that guys interview, even thought here I am trying to to eat grains so that I can feel better (not working). I do believe that people (even vegans) do not think enough about where their food is coming from and how ethical it is. I am striving to grow all of my own food (lots of fruit trees :)), but until then, I am stuck eating things that I do not know everything about. It does seem like the simple thing to do is say "I'm vegan and that's what I do for the animals"... but is it really enough? Is it good for you? Is every single death and useful one? How can we make it so in our own lives?

Just FYI, I am still "vegan", I do not know where my diet is going at the moment as I still have a very strong ethical pull towards veganism, though if it was merely an intellectual thing I think that my veganism would be shot out the window. I'm just emotionally attached.

Hate me yet?

Observations feedback
The film uses "plant-based diet" instead of "vegan" word choice:  I don't get the discrepancy.  Just eating a plant-based diet does not make someone vegan if they're still wearing a leather jacket over their wool.  The movie isn't about being vegan, it's about not eating animal products.  Using the word vegan would be inaccurate.

I really didn't think of this as a "vegan" movie promoting veganism.  I support the idea of promoting a "plant based diet" because this leaves the door wide open to folks that want to eat a more plant based diet without eating 100% vegan or becoming vegan.  Then like a lot of us, myself included, they may begin the journey towards veganism.  But as Rip Esselstyn (sp?) stated as he climbed the fire "eat more plants...eat more plants.....eat more plants....." is a good enough start for some people.

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I totally agree with campbell about whole foods, but it seems to me (from my own experience) every vegan that I know supplements. Every single one (except my husband, who occasionally eats fortified foods, anyway). I know mcdougall is against supps pretty fervently, but I know he is also not fully vegan (it actually doesn't seem to me most of those drs are?)

T. Colin Campbell even takes B12 supplements occasionally (which kinda contradicts his negative opinion on supplementation!).  But his view on supplements is in regard to people who eat a SAD and then consume nutrient supplements as a panacea for good health.  He also explains how, in defense of the plant-based diet, B12 is made from microorganisms usually found in soil, but in our sanitized world we don’t come into contact with soil, hence the need for supplementation.  In The China Study, he concludes that a whole foods, plant-based diet + B12 supplement (and D for those who spend most time indoors) is “the diet science has found to be consistent with the greatest health and the lowest incidence of heart disease, cancer, obesity and many other Western diseases.”  With health being the primary concern of course, not ethics.

I drink fortified soymilk & eat fortified cereals regularly so I don’t take “supplements”, but I guess my diet is supplemented with fortified foods.

It’s very interesting when you start looking at the ethics of manufacturing and industrial processes so closely.  For me, it becomes very sad and frustrating at the same time.  It seems like there is a little bit of suffering and/or environmental destruction in everything!  The Native Americans had it right- take only what you need and respect interdependent web of life of which you are a part.  

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In terms of why I do not believe in supplementation... People somehow got by without supplements until not too long ago.

(um: they were generally eating at least some animal foods) :-/

Veganism is a 20th century phenomenon.........

Also vitamin knowledge is really didn't start until the mid 1900's and supplementation wasn't widespread until the our lifetime.  It shouldn't be poo pooed because while people didn't supplement they also didn't live long either.  Humans have doubled their life expectancy the last few hundred years, and knowledge of vitamins and nutrition might have played a role...along with advances in health care, antibiotics, etc.

All that said, whole foods are where it's at and supplementation with tons of stuff shouldn't be necessary.  Personally, I take a vitamin a couple of times a week because I'm not 100% sure I eat 100% perfect 100% of the time.

The other thing about doing-fine-without-supplementation is, ... probably not. Like Tweety said, the life expectancy just wasn't as long. With something like B12 deficiency that can takes years to develop because of its storage, life expectancy really matters. Also, just to take B12 in particular, there's the issue of sanitation. It was a big advance in preventing communicable disease, but with cleaner food and water, people are missing out (weird word choice, i know) on the leetle bits of fecal contamination that might have kept B12 normal, even on a mostly vegan diet (just out of expense of animal products). Of course, I don't know how strong the case is for contamination as a source (I know it was an idea, but I don't know if there's good research to back up the continued presence and bioavailability of B12 when it's exposed to the elements. Anyway, there's also the issue of diagnostics. If this were a couple hundred years ago and you were tired and a little shaky at times, it'd probably be recommended you to eat richer foods or stay away from certain things that had nothing to do with your condition. Maybe you'd just be one of those sickly kids or frail women. These days, they'd do a CBC and cell morphology and see you have macrocytic non-regenerative anemia and suspect B12 deficiency. It's not that people got along fine, but mortality was way higher anyway, people just had conditions that were undiagnosable, and some were just weaker/less capable than others and that's just how things are. These days, if you had symptoms just a little different from your peers, you might immediately suspect something. There are no longer "just" sickly/weak people, everyone has a disease, there's a reference range for everything, and there are syndromes described well before there's a cause discovered. And then we even have the speculation about past figures' mysterious diseases, like George III and porphyria and whatnot.
^ Long way of saying: we're probably idealizing the past, and glazing over the differences in perspective and technology that could mean they had the exact same problems.

I'm really curious about the vitamin D. I don't know enough about human nutrition, I guess. I mean, I agree with your thinking, you should have plenty of D with your skin color and exposure and such. I wonder if there's some problem elsewhere along the way, like the substrate (enough dietary saturated fat), or the liver, or kidney... idk. Seems like it would be hard to have issues with any of those stages without other signs on bloodwork or overt signs. Weird.

Interesting idea about some humans being obligate omnivores that was mentioned... just anecdotally, it always seems to me like guys have a WAY easy time with a vegan diet. I mean, like a totally unbalanced diet of junk or non-junk (just unbalanced), and still, totally cool. And then there are female vegans who make sure to take care of every vitamin and mineral, and there are issues. I guess there's a higher requirement for iron and all, but it wouldn't be too crazy to me if, for various non-disease reasons, some people can and can't thrive on a vegan diet.

As far as "plant-based' vs "vegan," I don't know how it was used in that documentary (haven't seen it), but I think the use isn't just because of the stigma of "vegan," but also accuracy and broader scope. "Plant-based" is more sciencey vs a more culture-based term that encompasses a variety of choices, not limited to diet. Plus, some of these studies used to support veganism were not actually about vegans at all, but people who had significantly lower intake of animal products/protein. So their diet is plant-based, but not exclusive. It's probably also more accurate for the people who do the diet clinical trials, because "vegan" is defined as a total exclusion of animal products, whereas the participants are probably not 100% (honey doesn't have the protein, cholesterol, and fat culprits after all, and I don't know if the people running these things stress that mono- and diglycerides are not to be trusted or whatever).
But yeah, some people are going to draw conclusions from research that aren't quite there. Happens all the time, and it takes careful consideration of each study to really find the meaning, if any (there are so many problems with so many studies...). It would certainly be more truthful to cover it in that depth, but it's not accessible let alone interesting to a lay population.

As far as the shelter/having pets thing... i think there's more to it. For instance, by adopting from a shelter, are you really supporting the shelter or continuing the population? If the animal is sterilized, they're a dead end. For the shelter, they're definitely not making any money off your adoption fee. If they're a shelter that gets their animals at least sterilized before release, there's already hundreds of dollars behind a single animal. Even if they aren't profiting, yeah, you're still patronizing their business in a sense. But like a good non-profit, the ultimate outcome of good business is going out of business. If a shelter gets a good adoption rate, they'll continue adopting out animals, and may get funds to do more. Perhaps more people will adopt, but again, these animals are sterilized. For that reason, to me it's preferable to have the shelter in place, versus people adopting strays that they may not get around to neutering until it's too late, or never vaccinating and then having to have their rabies-unvaccinated dog euthanized when he gets attacked by a random raccoon.
The only way I could really see adoption as perpetuating pet ownership (other than you personally owning that animal) is the image. It's like the argument against wearing fake leather or fake fur - you may have not harmed animals, but you're perpetuating the image that it's fashionable, and by having something in public you're advertising that product (and who knows, not everyone knows it's not real, especially with fake leather). So by having an animal, maybe that kid who lives next door and plays with your dog convinces their parents to get them a dog, and that might be a dog from a pet store. Or you are just part of a social acceptance of having pets.
For me, the fake fur vs adopted animals is totally different here. With a fake product, you absolutely have a choice. You're not rescuing a fake fur coat from a bad situation. With a homeless animal, whether one in a kill shelter or no-kill or off the streets, it becomes a choice of helping and potentially saving that animal's life versus contributing to something more abstract. I am very much an individual-focused person in terms of ethics (Kant vs utilitarianism and whatnot), so adopting an animal from wherever is way better to me vs the economics and sociology of the whole thing.

And just as an aside, the whole distinction between kill and no-kill... it's not so black and white. There are a number of kill shelters out here who have a really low euthanasia rate because they've got a reasonable handle on things, and there are "no-kills"(almost all of them) that DO euthanize, but for "medical" reasons that often include the not-so-medical, or the fact that if you turn an animal away because you're full and won't euthanize, that might be just as good as euthanasia. I know that's not the topic at hand, but a lot of people see one as totally good vs totally bad... it's really more a matter of who owns it, the desired image, or if it's just a person who runs a rescue out of their home.

For pet ownership, I think it definitely depends on the species and the specific situation. For instance, there's a great degree of domestication for most dogs and cats, and I don't really see them as suffering as a result of their relationship with humans; there's a symbiosis, and like hh pointed out, at times a stray will volunteer to be some human's companion. There are other cases where I'd say it's not fair for the animal, like a feral cat that's suddenly kept indoors as a pet. They're not all totally like this, but a lot of feral cats are seriously stressed by being indoors and with humans and will never be as domesticated as other cats. When I was doing the trap-neuter-release of cats in my neighborhood, I had to roughly guess which cats were going to do well indoors or do poorly outdoors or what and decide whether to release them. If they were adult and totally feral, that meant they're already competent at living outdoors and probably hold little interest in having a human companion. With the kittens, a LOT of them die because they just cannot fend for themselves, so I tried to keep them; I ended up only releasing one. She was very aggressive, and despite the fact I've been feeding her for every day since August, she still absolutely hates me, hahaha (her name is Evil Fluffmonster). At a point I wasn't sure with Mimi (my current foster), because she was very scared and seemed stressed by being indoors, and I had to figure out quickly if the endeavor was worth it, because the longer I waited to release her, the less likely she'd be able to cope outdoors (fortunately, she's gradually become spoiled). With other cats, like Charlie, there was absolutely no way for survival outdoors, and she was really ill and suffering terribly. In that case, it's not a choice of pets vs no pets - it's a very anthropocentric perspective IMO - it's a choice between Charlie's indoors and lives or she stays outdoors and dies (or I get her euthanized). Unless there's fewer animals than the demand, there's never going to be the actual choice between pets or no pets, it's a choice between domesticated and alive or not and dead. It's morbid, but it's true. Soapbox time: on that note, the overpopulation is really the community's issues, and I feel like anyone who has consideration for animals and can take care of animals (financially, emotionally, practically, whatnot), should. To me, it's like sorting your recycling or not littering, etc, except more is at stake here. Ignoring the overpopulation isn't doing nothing, it's letting it increase. If more people were proactive when they could be (and not to blame individuals, but if cities/communities supported or encouraged individuals doing so and there was a culture of caring about this issue), the population could be reduced (via sterilization) and the animals' welfare improved (through vaccination and healthcare at least, if they're going to stay outdoors or feral), and hell, selfishly, it'd be better for human health. But as long as taking care of non-owned animals or rehoming are just for the slightly-crazy who are really into animals, there's no point in discussing the abstract of the ethics of domestication, because there's no choice at this point. /soapbox

As far as food ethics beyond veganism, for a long time I felt like I was "done" once I had gone vegan. it was already a big step, and it was the ultimate ethical choice in eating. I know that's not really true now, but I'm not as especially motivated for that versus going vegan. I just recently started doing only fair-trade cocoa, have not really settled on only fair-trade coffee (there must be few plantations, because every type I've had tastes virtually the same and I hate it!... shallow, but yeah, it is food), and have not considered much outside of that. I'm not sure what COULD be done without going ahead and growing everything yourself. But tbh, would each person growing their own food really be better or any more sustainable? There are (admittedly gross) ways that commercial farms cut corners, and in doing so, are reducing resources used. E.g., the not-so-vegan use of dried blood and bone meal from slaughtered animals. I'm not saying a huge-ass farm is the way to go, but it's bound to be that some of the technologies are going to make things really efficient from certain perspectives (land usage, water usage), though I'm sure other things suffer (wildlife population, topsoil). i just don't know enough about all of this to really make the call of what's truly more sustainable. For long-term, is it better to have a totally organic farm with more wasted crop and larger use of land per yield, or to have a conventional farm that uses insecticides and unnatural chemicals? It almost seems like you'd have to consider that for every food item (mushrooms seem like a clear victor for the natural route, but hell I don't even know about that).

Finally, I think one of the ideas behind 100% vegan agriculture being less sustainable is probably because of those recycled slaughterhouse products, manure, and the fact that ruminants can pretty much eat whatever the hell they want, whereas we can only eat highly digestible plants. I always felt uneasy about those orgs that go deliver a cow or goat to a poor family and call it charity (... is having one more animal going to be deleterious to that environment?), but there is the counter-point that cows can make inedible foodstuffs (like brush) into edible food (milk, meat), which shows there's a little more grey area than the vegan factoid of 16-lbs-of-grain-per-lb-of-meat.

long story short: idk.

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agreed about the native americans, GT...

I tried that whole "get b12 from the soil" thing. LOL! eating stuff that i grow or know where it's grown and don't wash. Didn't work for me, but maybe some others are having success. An interesting study I would be interested in conducting is looking at micronutrient levels in the soil and in the food they came from, in this way we could compare the nasty convention soils and the food products that come from them and the richer organic stuff from places that care about their soil only. The things I would do if I had the money!

fb, will touch on your post tomorrow, just popped up as being there when i posted this.

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As far as the shelter/having pets thing... i think there's more to it. For instance, by adopting from a shelter, are you really supporting the shelter or continuing the population? If the animal is sterilized, they're a dead end. For the shelter, they're definitely not making any money off your adoption fee. If they're a shelter that gets their animals at least sterilized before release, there's already hundreds of dollars behind a single animal. Even if they aren't profiting, yeah, you're still patronizing their business in a sense. But like a good non-profit, the ultimate outcome of good business is going out of business. If a shelter gets a good adoption rate, they'll continue adopting out animals, and may get funds to do more. Perhaps more people will adopt, but again, these animals are sterilized. For that reason, to me it's preferable to have the shelter in place, versus people adopting strays that they may not get around to neutering until it's too late, or never vaccinating and then having to have their rabies-unvaccinated dog euthanized when he gets attacked by a random raccoon.
The only way I could really see adoption as perpetuating pet ownership (other than you personally owning that animal) is the image. It's like the argument against wearing fake leather or fake fur - you may have not harmed animals, but you're perpetuating the image that it's fashionable, and by having something in public you're advertising that product (and who knows, not everyone knows it's not real, especially with fake leather). So by having an animal, maybe that kid who lives next door and plays with your dog convinces their parents to get them a dog, and that might be a dog from a pet store. Or you are just part of a social acceptance of having pets.
For me, the fake fur vs adopted animals is totally different here. With a fake product, you absolutely have a choice. You're not rescuing a fake fur coat from a bad situation. With a homeless animal, whether one in a kill shelter or no-kill or off the streets, it becomes a choice of helping and potentially saving that animal's life versus contributing to something more abstract. I am very much an individual-focused person in terms of ethics (Kant vs utilitarianism and whatnot), so adopting an animal from wherever is way better to me vs the economics and sociology of the whole thing.

And just as an aside, the whole distinction between kill and no-kill... it's not so black and white. There are a number of kill shelters out here who have a really low euthanasia rate because they've got a reasonable handle on things, and there are "no-kills"(almost all of them) that DO euthanize, but for "medical" reasons that often include the not-so-medical, or the fact that if you turn an animal away because you're full and won't euthanize, that might be just as good as euthanasia. I know that's not the topic at hand, but a lot of people see one as totally good vs totally bad... it's really more a matter of who owns it, the desired image, or if it's just a person who runs a rescue out of their home.

For pet ownership, I think it definitely depends on the species and the specific situation. For instance, there's a great degree of domestication for most dogs and cats, and I don't really see them as suffering as a result of their relationship with humans; there's a symbiosis, and like hh pointed out, at times a stray will volunteer to be some human's companion.

Yep-- well said on all counts.

My last adoptee was dodging cars on an overpass in the rain; I stopped to try to avert imminent disaster, and when I opened the car door and stepped out he came bounding up, threw himself into the car, and huddled whining on the floorboard, thumping his tail and begging to not be put back out there. No world exists in which dragging such a one from the car and leaving him on the overpass is the right thing to do, imo, just for the sake of abstract philosophical ideals. The question is not 'do I approve of pets?' -- who cares? my approval is worth, like, used Kleenex -- the question is 'can I avert some misery here?' With stray adoption from any venue, the answer is usually yes. So I support it.  :)

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Whoa, I just got totally confused because I was reading fb's post thinking it was one from hesp. I was like wait...I thought.....  ;D

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For pet ownership, I think it definitely depends on the species and the specific situation. For instance, there's a great degree of domestication for most dogs and cats, and I don't really see them as suffering as a result of their relationship with humans; there's a symbiosis, and like hh pointed out, at times a stray will volunteer to be some human's companion.

Yep-- well said on all counts.

My last adoptee was dodging cars on an overpass in the rain; I stopped to try to avert imminent disaster, and when I opened the car door and stepped out he came bounding up, threw himself into the car, and huddled whining on the floorboard, thumping his tail and begging to not be put back out there. No world exists in which dragging such a one from the car and leaving him on the overpass is the right thing to do, imo, just for the sake of abstract philosophical ideals. The question is not 'do I approve of pets?' -- who cares? my approval is worth, like, used Kleenex -- the question is 'can I avert some misery here?' With stray adoption from any venue, the answer is usually yes. So I support it.  :)

Totally agree.  It's too late in the evolution of dogs, cats and other animals that are dependent on humans.  They can't survive on their own, they need us...even the ferrel cats and dogs (if you live in 3rd world countries) are still dependent on humans.   For me rescuing an animal and supporting a pet is not an ethical dilemma.  

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No world exists in which dragging such a one from the car and leaving him on the overpass is the right thing to do, imo, just for the sake of abstract philosophical ideals. The question is not 'do I approve of pets?' -- who cares?

;)b

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Whoa, I just got totally confused because I was reading fb's post thinking it was one from hesp. I was like wait...I thought.....  ;D

MY AVATAR IS A KITTY. HESP'S AVATAR IS HESP. GOSH

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Whoa, I just got totally confused because I was reading fb's post thinking it was one from hesp. I was like wait...I thought.....  ;D

MY AVATAR IS A KITTY. HESP'S AVATAR IS HESP. GOSH

I know! I think I just saw hesp had posted somewhere, and figured I was reading her response. I got very confused quickly.

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Off current topic, but in regards to energy and veganism - l2a's kids have been vegan since birth, so I'd consider them the vegan control group.  If there was a deficiency that was pronounced after about 6 months of being vegan, I figure we'd see it in them sometime 6+ months after breastfeeding stopped.  How old is N, 7 or so?  By all accounts, he seems to be a regular, active, bright, artistic boy, and L appears to have major mischievous energy. 

Maybe veganism doesn't work for everyone (I'm inclined to think veganism may not be sufficient for people with shortened or small intestine absorption issues), but I don't think that veganism is inherently unhealthy.

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I actually know lots of vegan kids since birth, the last "party" I went to was full of them. Some looked good, some didn't.. whatever.

I really do wonder whether it works for some and doesn't for others. That would be interesting. I know many people "make it work" by supplementation, but I'm not into that. I know a few people don't supplement (but I don't know of any people who have not supplemented anything for a long time, so there's that).

Re: FB's post.

weird about you noticing the guys having an easier time. I read somewhere else someone was saying they really thought it was harder to women to keep their correct hormonal balance on vegan diets (though maybe they just know people who didn't eat enough and didn't have enough estrogen because of that?! who knows). Like I said, Dustin still feels great, thought he's been a vegan for less time. We eat pretty much exactly the same, but he eats more due to working out loads and loads. In terms of gender, there is also the whole pregnancy thing. Personally, everyone I know craves non-vegan food during pregnancy and most eat it, too. For a long time I thought "meh, people just crave weird shit when they're preg" (pica, anyone?!), but then I heard about how clay actually helps remove some of the toxins that are hormone mimics in natural foods (greens, which make those mimics so that things gorging on them mono-diet style get f-ed up reproduction so the population declines).. It's interesting how our bodies can and do tell us what we need, we just have to listen. We also have lots of OTHER info telling us what we should eat to (taste, social) so we have to make sure it's truly something the body wants.

For me it's not so much about stopping the suffering of one animal (sounds bad, but I'll try to explain)... My ethics are and have always been very big picture. I do what I can in my life to reduce suffering and exploitation, and the way I envision less suffering and exploitation is through us as humans leaving animals alone. Which is very very broad. Leaving habitat (aka, taking only what you need, not just of animal products, but of everything since all of our actions, the way we set up our society, have negative (mostly) effects on the rest of life) is a good example. Right now I have almost an acre of land, it's totally non-native because whoever lived here before didn't care (most people don't) so I intend to grow lots of fruit trees, and hopefully in conjunction other things that will help lots of animals and bugs make my yard their home. Because I am making my yard productive for myself, and can make sure at the same time that it is being run in a way I think is ethical to get my resources from, I (hopefully) will need very little outside inputs and I can spend my time making sure I get those used or from sources I agree with as much as possible. To me this is the way to do the least harm. When I bring an animal into our society that was currently living a sustainable animal life (death included), I harm more. I must have facilities processing their food, I get their food in packaging that will take up space in a landfill (and create toxins in our environment, speaking of toxins, there's a good chance a lot of that goes into their accessories and foods/packages. I know some people feed their pets humane meat and veggies/fruits from a sustainably operated farm, but I think best is if they are left to just be.
In terms of overpopulation, Do you mean more than we can find homes for? I remember being in rome and looking over a bridge and there were SHIT TONS of cats down below. It was insane, but thinking about it, it's just like seeing a large population of other animals. When we see a ton of birds do we think: "bird overpopulation problem!"? I certainly do not, and I think because we think of them as pets and as our responsibility they are just seen differently. I would posit that all animals and the earth are our responsibility, but the way in which we can best be responsible is to leave them alone!

Interesting about the kill/no-kill shelters! I didn't know..

Personally, for me, I am not able to get most any of my food from a source that has used very few inputs but from it's own system (permacultural system, which is what I am striving for) so I would say it's much more sustainable for me to be growing my own food and giving away/selling any I don't use. And like I said, having a farm without having habitat for creatures that should be there is pretty irresponsible, and I don't know of many people who like creatures in their farms.

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stupid dudes, havin' it easy.

I know what you mean about the 'big picture.' I think everyone has that line, but it varies where it is. For instance, you might feed the feral cats in your neighborhood because you're concerned about them starving or something, but you won't feed the raccoons or opossums. true, they might be more capable of finding food, but it'll probably make you think about how you don't want to increase the pest population (but i guess in this case, the divide is more about species than situation).

As far as overpopulation of cats/dogs, i see it as different both because of that species divide (not very sciencey, i know), and because of our part in it. With cats and dogs, we actively breed them or allow our animals to breed (either intentionally or through negligence), and generally we have put ourselves in a position as their stewards. With opossums, there may be an overpopulation problem, but we're not purposely contributing to it. Also, while there would be starvation in both groups, you don't need cats to be overpopulated for there to be high mortality for various reasons, including starvation. However, the groups are similar and I'd care about both, but the solution would differ in that we'd be controlling the breeding of cats/dogs in homes and rehoming strays, versus controlling trash/food exposure and potential sources of shelter for non-domesticated animals. But control of stray dog/cat population can also be done through control of food sources (partly).

It may not be me in particular who's breeding animals, but I'm apart of a community and culture that allows or even encourages it. So I try to stem the problem through several means, including rehoming sterilized strays. There's a secondary reason to help reduce the outdoors cat population as well, which is the population of birds. In several places, predation has lead to a significant collapse in (particularly song)bird populations, to the point that in L.A., a birdwatchers group got the city to stop supporting feral cat care (UGH totally different subject there). So yeah, it's another case of "let populations do what they will," but in this case it's an invasive species we introduced. However, some people don't believe in maintaining endangered species (even if they are endangered for human reasons), so I don't know if that's more of what you believe. But if you're behind conservation and limiting invasive species as an extension of that, I think that would apply to at least cats, if not dogs.

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Back when I was a weightlifter, I used to drink egg whites by the dozen - up to 100 grams egg white protein per day, which would mean up to about 300 chicken eggs a week.

Recently, after becoming a vegan, I was watching a TV documentary on animal intelligence, which mentioned the story of Alex the talking parrot.  You know I'm no animal rights advocate, but hearing of the worldwide outpouring of sympathy that followed that parrot's untimely death had literally reduced me to tears...

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Off current topic, but in regards to energy and veganism - l2a's kids have been vegan since birth, so I'd consider them the vegan control group.  If there was a deficiency that was pronounced after about 6 months of being vegan, I figure we'd see it in them sometime 6+ months after breastfeeding stopped.  How old is N, 7 or so?  By all accounts, he seems to be a regular, active, bright, artistic boy, and L appears to have major mischievous energy. 

Maybe veganism doesn't work for everyone (I'm inclined to think veganism may not be sufficient for people with shortened or small intestine absorption issues), but I don't think that veganism is inherently unhealthy.

HH!
Noah is 10, Lyle is 3...both super smart, active (sometimes overly), healthy (Lyle has never thrown up or even spit up once!)...I will say they are both on the small side (as are their parents) . Our doc has had both tested for all these kidney things and cystic fibrosis, etc...with all tests coming back normal. They are perfectly normal, healthy, SMALL children. I know other vegan kids who are the same, except HULKish in size. I think it's genes. I wish they were bigger because I think people might attribute it to our diet, although there are a handful of other small boys in Noah's grade who are not vegan.

Eh, at this point trying to convince me to not be vegan would be like trying to convince someone not to be Black...it just IS who I am!!! ;)

Yanno, I think part of it could be that our soil is very depleted and that there just isn't that many nutrients even in greens, etc...you have to eat so much of it to get the nutrients anymore. Even organic stuff can be depleted of nutrients if the farmers aren't enriching the soil.

I don't supplement, but do eat blue green algae every day, which is THICK with nutrients since it is grown on volanic ash rocks in a fresh water lake (all organic, raw, vegan).
My blood work came back normal and I have more energy since I started taking it (NOT saying this as a sales rep, but as an algae addict who truly believes it has all the nutrients I need!). You should see if you can find the frozen raw blue green algae over there...I would think so, since it is harvested nearby in Oregon.

ETA CHeck my thread in Lovin the Loot regarding E3Live blue green algae

http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=31109.30

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"Let not the perfect preclude the good." -- someone really smart

Humans that I had/ have no control over have/ are continually fucked/ing things up for other species. I can't change that. My avoidance of stray animal assistance and the occasional baby squirrel rescue/ release may or may not have any positive effect on any living thing whatsoever-- there are too many variables to say, and too many OTHER humans out there doing and not-doing things. HOWEVER: my active participation in these activities demonstrably *does* benefit someone, at least a small number of someones. MY behavior is all I can control; I will focus it on doing things (whatever else might be going on that I CAN'T control) that have at least some positive effect on some specific living things in need of a specific positive effect... to me, that IS the big picture. No perfect outcome is guaranteed either way... But I can work for the good I'm sure of, and leave at least something in the world definitely better than I found it.

There is absolutely zero possibility that humanity will cease interaction with other species. Lo, that ship has sailed-- and without a few other planets to move onto, it is not even a remotely feasible notion. So, living in the now, in the world I have rather than the world I would design, I will do what I can to contribute some positive human effects wherever I can-- whenever I'm sure that I can-- if for no other reason than to work at counterbalancing the great harm that humans have done to (well, everything else!!) over the last few thousand years.

I respect your approach, and obviously it feels right to you so I'm not really arguing with you, as such... obviously animal company is not something everyone is interested in, or needs to be... but wow it looks different to me! If my tribe burned your village and crops for no good reason and left you homeless and starving, I would say Come stay with me, I'm so so sorry, we/they should not have done that, please have some more soup!... and I would say that to as many of your clan as I could fit in my house, and then I would say to my neighbors These people are hurting and it is our fault, do you by any chance have a sleeper sofa?!...

Same thing, except for the number of legs.  :)
(at least, that's how it looks to me)

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I tried that whole "get b12 from the soil" thing. LOL! eating stuff that i grow or know where it's grown and don't wash.

:)>>> You are HARD CORE.

Re: grains, just curious, do you sprout them?  If you get seeds from a known responsible source, that would avert the habitat/harvest issues...?

Dustin still feels great, thought he's been a vegan for less time. We eat pretty much exactly the same, but he eats more due to working out loads and loads.

Could you work a load with him?  Get into a groove for a little while and see if that makes you feel any better?  Let's get that FitDay Journal goin'!!!!  :)

One positive thing about companion animals is that they are a wonderful avenue in which people can make the connection with non-human life.  To cause someone to think, "Hey, here's this dog that I love like a best friend...I wonder if I should be eating pig which is just as smart, if not smarter?"  They can open the doors for a compassionate life where the benefits and positive repercussions outweigh the negative impacts. 

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Noah is 10

10!!!!!  When did that happen?!  Noah is a pre-teen.  :o 

I feel a bit feint and old.

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Noah is 10

10!!!!!  When did that happen?!  Noah is a pre-teen.  :o 

I feel a bit feint and old.

You probably thought he was younger because he is so little! ;)
He looks more like 7-8.

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Hopefully Noah will have an adolescent growth spurt...start saving your money now because boys can eat you out of house and home.  My carnivore 4 year old great niece is so petite she and her two year old sister wear the same clothes.  But I hear you, people are going to blame it on being vegan.

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