Hi, my name is Ruth Ruthless and I’m a vegan trans woman.
Blaire White, another trans woman, who has been vegan for 10 years, has recently made a video where she said she is no longer vegan and has explained why she has stopped being vegan in that video. I will explain why the reasons she gave in her video to stop being vegan are invalid and hopefully show her that she can go back to being vegan and be healthy.
This is also not just about Blaire. Her video sends a message as if it’s hard to be both a trans woman and be a healthy vegan. I’m a trans woman too and I’m vegan and I doubt I am the only one.
She claimed she had major deficiencies due to a vegan diet, but the only two vitamins she specified in which she was deficient, are the two ones you don’t get from diet. Vitamin B12 is from bacteria and vitamin D is synthesized by the body in response to sun exposure. Non vegans are just as susceptible as vegans to these deficiencies, especially these days when animals are cooped up in such small spaces to accommodate the incomprehensible demand for animal products that antibiotics need to be employed to a degree that any B12 producing bacteria in animals would be dead so they need supplements, just like humans.
So virtually all sources of B12 and D in western countries are a result of fortification and supplementation due to sterile environments and living indoors and there is no benefit to getting your vitamin D and B12 together with cholesterol and saturated fat in animal products over taking a supplement directly, especially if you supposedly care about your health.
I saw a discussion with her and Ask Yourself where apparently she tried supplementation but it didn’t work, but she did not consult with a registered dietitian and she did not check her blood results again to see if her supplementation was adequate… so there were still things to try and there are still things to try before giving up and going back to eating animal products.
In her original video she also mentioned she doesn’t want to strain her liver. Where is the evidence that taking D and B12 supposedly adds a burden on the liver the same way taking estrogen pills does?
I personally take my estrogen as a cream, to avoid potential liver damage, even though my endocrinologist says I don’t have to since I don’t drink alcohol and don’t smoke. If she is so worried about potential liver damage, she can use a cream too. Either way, no real justification was given to go back to paying for abuse and slaughtering of animals. She has to take her hormones as a trans woman regardless of what she eats and she has to get her B12 and D either way, like everyone does, whether from supplements or fortified food, vegan source or non-vegan source.
And the whole “I need to be an adult and go to restaurants” thing she mentioned in her original video is self contradictory if she is supposedly worried about her health… Nothing healthy is being served in restaurant food. It’s all laced with copious amounts of added salt, added sugar and added oil so they can compete with the strong flavors in other restaurants. There is nothing especially mature about eating at a restaurant rather than cooking your own healthy food at home, I could in fact argue the opposite is true.
In the Ask Yourself discussion she said she heard all of the pro-vegan, anti-vegan, a-vegan arguments yet she seems to not know how to get vitamin D and B12, she isn’t specifying any other nutrients in which she is deficient, she wasn’t willing to take on the offer to consult a registered dietitian to resolve the issue and allow her to be a healthy vegan again… this doesn’t sound like someone who has been vegan for 10 years, it sounds like someone who has been vegan for 10 days, maybe 10 months and hasn’t done her research and due diligence to actually resolve the issue.
She also seemed to imply in the original video she had other deficiencies besides B12 and D, but since she did not specify any of them that I can address specifically, I can just say that the academy for nutrition and dietetics specifies that “appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”
Blaire, whatever inconvenience taking B12, D and your hormones causes you, it doesn’t justify paying for the abuse and slaughtering of animals who suffer much, much more than mere inconvenience and it isn’t even the best way to resolve your health issues. It’s actually more likely to cause you long term health issues due to getting cholesterol and saturated fat back into your diet in exchange for alleviating short term symptoms that could be taken care of with B12 and D supplements and if there are any other deficiencies you have, there are plenty of online resources to help you learn how to get those nutrients from vegan sources and I would love to help you resolve those too if you want my help. Better yet, find a local vegan clinical dietitian.
Maybe there are certain nutrients that are depleted more by virtue of being a trans woman taking hormones. I know about myself that if I don’t eat broccoli almost every day, despite generally eating healthy whole plant foods, beans and brown rice with vegetables and fruits every day, that my folate in my blood tests shows low but resolves if I eat enough broccoli.
Also, you’re taking hormone treatment, I don’t know how you’re doing it, but I am under supervision by an endocrinologist and taking blood tests every 3-6 months. Where I live in Israel, that comes standard with being a trans woman taking HRT unless you are doing it via black market and not being supervised, which at least where I come from, is considered dangerously unhealthy… so you should be having a lot of blood tests to track how what you’re doing is working or not working and what changes according to what you change in what you do. That’s how I know what I need to eat to get my needs met… I have many blood tests between endocrinologist appointments where I tried different things and saw what works so as a trans woman you can actually use that to be healthier.
So TL;DR, everyone can and should go vegan, trans women too, including Blaire White, for their health, for the planet and for the animals. Like Ask Yourself said, there are plenty of registered dietitians who want to help her resolve her issues and be vegan and I hope she takes the offer up.