Thursday, August 18, 2011

Myth #5: All Vegans Are a Bunch of Weak/Pacifist/Hippie PUSSIES!

Right from the start, just from the language, we can see how veganism is equated with anti-masculinity. Meat = manly. Vegetables = womanly (pussy). Womanly = inferior. Moving along before I go into another feminist rant...

If I have to hear the "Hey, what's the deal with vegetarians/vegans being so pale and sickly lookin'?" trope out of another person's mouth I swear I'm going to start shoving zucchinis down their throat just to get them to shut the hell up. According to these people, vegans, especially the men (remember, they still want to fuck the PETA girls), are particularly weak and unhealthy. Because we are such weak little pansies, their logic goes, we must also be a bunch of  bunny-hugging peaceniks that wouldn't even dare lift a finger to save ourselves from a bear attack for fear of injuring the bear. We all sit around in drum circles wearing our hemp jewelry and white-people-dreadlocks and sing songs about the plight of Mother Nature in the hopes it will raise a positive energy field that will impact the collective subconscious. Or some such New Age hippie nonsense.

I would just like to say right now that, personally, I am an atheist with non-pacifistic ideologies (because, dammit, sometimes there IS a reason for violence, but it should only be a last resort) who likes to lift weights and listen to German Industrial music. I wear steel-toed boots just in case I need to kick someone's face in on the street (I live in an area that has a large population of violent meth-heads). I am not a fragile little flower.

And neither are these people:

These guys can be found at A lot of them compete professionally and have won many competitions. But, you know, you simply can't be manly (or a kick-ass muscle-bound Amazon woman!) if you're vegan!

That's Cattle Decapitation. They're a deathgrind band that's been around for about 15 years or so and are pretty damn popular for their genre. They've toured with Gwar (which is the next best thing to actually being Gwar). And they're all vegan/vegetarian.

The Agonist is an up-and-coming death metal band from Canada fronted by the vegan Alissa White-Gluz. But, you know... They probably wear tie-die when no one's looking.

And let's not forget Mike Tyson, who's been vegan for 2 years now and is in the best shape he's been in since quitting boxing.

I might come back and add more to this when I have the time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coming Out

My boyfriend of the last 3 years is finally coming out to his family as vegan on Sunday. We've successfully attended two family gatherings, including the usual giant piles of food, without anyone knowing that we don't eat meat/dairy. These family gatherings typically happen around Christmas, but this year they decided that it would be easier for everyone to attend if they held it in the summer--which means barbequing.

We have no idea how they'll react. In fact, we've specifically avoided telling them for 3 years now. So to help ease the situation, I've decided to make all the most delicious vegan summer-time foods I can think of and bring enough for the whole family. This will most likely consist of barbeque seitan, potato salad and some sort of fruit pastry. Maybe some horchata as well.

I'm sure we'll be getting all the tired old questions/answers: "How do you get your protein?" "But humans need meat!" "Are you a member of PETA?" "I heard about these parents who killed their baby by feeding them nothing but vegan food!" "Where do you get your calcium?" "Well I reeeeaaaally love animals; they're freakin' tasty! Om nom nom!" "So are you a bunch of hippies or what?"

I'll make a report here after it's all over. Wish us luck.


Well, grandma called my potato salad "alright." I guess it's not a complete rejection so I'll take it as a win? Most of the other guests had left by the time we arrived, but there were still large platters of dead stuff lying around. I found out my boyfriend's brother's girlfriend is vegetarian. He even said he was considering it himself. This was quite the pleasant surprise. Since everyone else had already eaten or left, it was just me, my boyfriend and his brother left with all the vegan goodies!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Surprise, Surprise: More Research Indicates Diet is Best Cure for Diabetes

I just came across this article on BBC claiming that they've found a way to reverse diabetes by "eating only liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables." Really? Eating a plant based diet can reverse diabetes? Oh, wait, we already figured this out years ago when research found that a vegan diet worked so well on a group of diabetes patients that a lot of them stopped taking their insulin or became diabetes-free.

To be fair, there's a lot of differences between the two studies, in the one talked about in the BBC article, they were only allowed to eat 600 calories a day and we all know that eating just non-starchy veggies isn't all that great for you because you need more variety in your diet. Also, it only lasted 2 months and then the patients were allowed to go right back to their shitty Western diets without much change. As Mike Tyson would be able to tell you, staying healthy means staying vegan. What? Do you want to get diabetes again??

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Top 8 Worst PETA Ads and Why They Give All Vegetarians a Bad Name

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is known for a lot of things. Their undercover exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses has done a lot to change animal agriculture industry regulations and help the general public become aware of where their food comes from. Unfortunately, what PETA seems to be most known for is the often ill-conceived way that the organization likes to protest and advertise. The following are but a few of the worst examples found in a recent Google search:

I can't for the life of me figure out why this woman is nude. It seems like the message would be perfectly clear without the addition of barely covered breasts. I know you're trying to draw attention to the matter, but it just seems a bit gratuitous and kind of obscures the intended message. I imagine the process of making this ad went a little something like this: 
PETA Ad Maker 1: "Hmm... What could make the idea of adopting unwanted pets more appealing?"
PETA Ad Maker 2: "Umm... Boobies!"
PETA in general: "GENIUS!"
And then they all high five.

Again with the tits, although this time they're a bit more covered. GENIUS!

This one is vaguely racist and uses the same tactics as fashion advertisers when they want to portray something as exotic; they use a person of color. Portraying a wide variety of ethnicities in your advertising is a great idea, it's just sad to see the old "Brown people = Exotic!" trope trotted out time and again. Although...

That last one doesn't seem nearly as bad as this one. Sure, I get the point your trying to make and it's a very good one. However, running around town in a KKK outfit REALLY sends people the wrong message, guys. Most people who see this are going to quickly walk to the other side of the street without ever reading your sign or asking for an informative flyer. This is a pretty good example of how the message their trying to portray gets lost in the controversy of the method they use to portray it.

It's not like they use sexism and body image issues to objectify only women. Here's one where they go after the guys. Because, obviously, looking like a lady is a VERY BAD THING. Which makes it sort of sexist toward ladies too. Good job guys. But it gets worse...

Downright fat shaming. To me (a fat vegan female), this is the worst kind of sexism/potentially even worse than sexism. Insulting the general public is not going to gain you any allies. PETA was eventually forced to remove this billboard. 

Downright sexism. No wonder feminists seem to hate PETA more than anyone else (which is a shame because, if they knew what they were doing, they might make good allies). Also, PETA, you're sending seriously mixed signals here. Is fur supposed to stay on the animal of origin or not? If so, why advocate genital shaving?

These are two billboards that were put up in Wichita, KS. Why is this significant? Wichita is where Dr. George Tiller was gunned down by an anti-abortion advocate. These billboards were put up right after the murder; one to appeal to pro-lifers and one to appeal to pro-choicers. I don't think "tactfulness" is in their vocabulary.

And this is part of the reason why PETA has become one of the most hated activist groups. Their one-track-mindedness (convert people to vegetarianism at any cost!) has a way of offending everyone out there. A lot of vegans/vegetarians don't even approve of them. Furthermore, their tactics, for the most part do not work, as evidenced by these images (and others like them) I found while digging up the ones above: 

Those are two very, very good examples of how the message gets obscured by the method of portrayal. Unfortunately, I don't think anything short of a complete overhaul of the organization's leadership will do much to change their mind on the matter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Note On My Last Post

This is just easier than going through and rewriting the whole thing. So here goes:

We hear some expert say that humans are so smart because we learned to hunt and eat meat and, as vegans, we collectively cringe.
After further study, it seems the emphasis is on cooking the meat, or any food for that matter, for early humans that somehow jump-started them into a more "civilized" manner. You will still, however, find people that will say that specifically meat protein is what supposedly makes us smart. Omega-3 fatty acids have an effect on brain function and  DHA, mainly found in fish oil, is said to be the most potent. It is not yet known precisely how effective plant sources of Omega-3 such as ALA and EPA are at helping brain function, so it could be just as good as the DHA, but we do know that the body can also convert the other two into DHA. Furthermore, the reason there is such a high concentration of DHA in fish is because there is a lot of it in the micro-algae in the ocean, which the fish consume. Therefore, it is possible to just skip the middleman (or middle-fish, as it were) and gain the DHA directly from the source, which for vegetarians means not having to worry about how efficiently your body is converting the other ALA and EPA into DHA. For everyone in general, this would mean not having to worry about how much mercury and other pollutants you're consuming with your fatty acids.

We see tribes of chimpanzees in Africa fashioning "spears" to stab other animals to death and then eat them, and another expert compares it to (and holds it up as proof of) our own early history.
Anyone who points to another animal, however close to us they are on the evolutionary line, to "prove" that humans are supposed to do this, first off, is obviously just picking and choosing which primates he/she wants to represent us and, secondly, obviously has no understanding of evolution. Pointing out that chimpanzees eat meat and then suggesting that this is evidence that humans have a good excuse to as well is like saying that polar bears are carnivores so all bears must be carnivores. (Note: most bears are omnivores.) It also completely disregards the fact that a lot of apes, such as gorillas, and primates in general, are herbivorous.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On Science And History

Every vegan (or vegetarian) everywhere has heard one of these at least once:

"Humans can't survive without meat!"
"We evolved to eat animals!"
"Hunting animals and eating their flesh was what made us human in the first place!"
"Excluding animals from your diet just isn't natural!"

We hear some expert say that humans are so smart because we learned to hunt and eat meat and, as vegans, we collectively cringe.  (At the same time, it makes me think that if flesh consumption is vital to brain power, why aren't lions or sharks our intellectual superiors?) We see tribes of chimpanzees in Africa fashioning "spears" to stab other animals to death and then eat them, and another expert compares it to (and holds it up as proof of) our own early history.

I'm personally a pretty huge fan of Science and History in general. In fact, I can sit down and read a book from front to back by Stephen Hawking as easily as most people can read one by Stephen King. Being the analytical thinker that I am, one might see how it could be difficult for me to tackle subjects that interfere with my ethics. Why are there so few naturally vegan sources of B12? How well do vegan sources of Omega-3s actually work?

And, yes, I'm even willing to consider the prospect that humans might have evolved a necessity for consumption of very small quantities or specific kinds of animal nutrients.


I do not think this means that veganism is a waste of time and energy and just going against nature all willy-nilly. There have been several points in history when society has collectively made the decision to stop doing something they had been doing for centuries or even millenia (or start doing something completely different).


There is some archeological evidence that our ancient ancestors ate animals and it's pretty much agreed upon that this happened pretty recently in the evolutionary timeline (which spans hundreds of thousands of years). However, this doesn't necessarily denote a necessity for animal flesh in the human diet, especially when physiological evidence is taken into account.

In times of hardship and scarcity, all animals will eat just about anything to keep from starving to death. Or sometimes they do it just for the hell of it. I actually witnessed an example of this on my front porch this morning when I looked out the window and found a neighborhood cat happily munching away at the sunflower seed bread I had left out for the squirrels. Cats are carnivores, so there's no reason a cat would need to hork down a whole slice of delicious sunflower seed bread.

Imagine you're a human (not hard for most of us) living off of whatever can be scrounged up and a really bad winter hits or even an ice age. Food becomes scarce real quick when everything is frozen. You see a wolf or a tiger happily ripping some smaller animal to shreds and gorging itself on the carcass and you think, "Hey, that animal is surviving by eating that other one! Maybe if I try that I won't have to starve to death!" So you bludgeon a rabbit or something and survive long enough to make little baby cavemen that you can then teach the same thing to and it becomes more of a cultural change than an evolutionary one.

Now I want to talk about B12, the one nutrient that vegans tend to be more deficient in and is harder to find in a naturally vegan format. Let's look back again at how humans used to eat. Before modern concerns about germs and bacteria and before we started trashing our own land, we never really washed our food all that well. It turns out that B12 is found naturally in top soil, especially where other animals have been poopin'. In fact, there is a tribe that has been living in the Himalayas for at least the last 5,000 years on a strictly vegan diet, and it's said that they get their B12 by not being overly concerned with washing their fruits and veggies. Many of them live to be in their 90s, so they're obviously pretty healthy for not consuming any animal products.


Let's examine the logic behind this idea that humans are naturally supposed to eat meat, the non-vegans' favorite argument. We are chided for going against what is natural and seen as plain silly, or worse, anti-human for the digestive decisions we make. But no one ever stops to examine all the other unnatural things that modern advances in technology and understanding have brought us.

Not even 100 years ago a lot of people died from dozens of different diseases and injuries that have now nearly vanished due to vaccination, surgery and education, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would suggest that we go back to our previous mortality rate simply because it's "more natural". In the past, birth control was rarely used and was pretty hit-or-miss as to its effectiveness, and it was even illegal in the US at one point, but now 98% of women are using or have used some form of contraception, usually the pill. Try telling a woman she's being "unnatural" and should stop taking her pills and just get pregnant like nature intended and you'll probably get yelled at or even slapped (though if a vegan reacted the same way, we would be labled "crazy" or "extremist"). Less on the medical side (and I know this argument gets brought up a lot, but I'm using it anyway), child labor was pretty common up until the beginning of the last century. If we still had little children doing all our work for us, maybe us adults get get a lot more done. Oh well, too bad societies change, right? (On this last point, I know that child labor hasn't completely vanished and has just disappeared to other parts of the world out of the sensitive sight of Westerners, but the idea I'm trying to portray here is how repugnant we now see it to be, as opposed to our attitudes in the past, which could possibly [and hopefully] be the way animal consumption is seen in our future.)

So, knowing what we know about humans' tendency to eschew nature when it benefits them, it might be easier to understand why vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more and more popular, especially when seen from the aspect of health within a society that's so meat-centric. Cutting animal products from your diet greatly  decreases your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc and has been shown in multiple studies to increase lifespan. Not only that, but it has the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly and saving other living creatures from needless suffering and death.

My point is, even if veganism is not completely "natural" (which I'm totally not saying that it's not) and you might have to fortify certain foods or look really hard for naturally occurring nutrients, why not go with it now that we have the technology and understanding that it's a better way to live, just like with other medical or social advances?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

So... I made a really dumb petition.... :P

I love candy corn. I haven't had any since becoming vegan. Jelly Belly candy corn is one ingredient away from being vegan; they use beeswax to coat the outside. As we all know, there are many many many non-animal alternatives to beeswax that they could be using instead, which would make it the first truly vegan candy corn on the market. So, I'm gonna try to convince them to do switch. :D

Go here to sign the petition: MAKE VEGAN CANDY CORN, JELLY BELLY!