Category Archives: Nutrition

Why is it hard to give up oil?

Mic. the Vegan recently made an unofficial part 2 to his video “Oil: The Vegan Killer”. Let me preface this post by saying I totally agree with what he says in his video. I am just going to add here some points of my own. To understand the context of my addition, please watch his video.

Also, before I get into the response itself, I’d like to mention I’m glad he used some information in my previous post and mentioned it in his video reply to Blaire White no longer being vegan and would like to thank him for that.

One of the things he talked about near the end of his video, is why people find it hard to give up oil and seem to find reasons why it is healthy to eat oil despite the data. I will not get into the data itself, for that you are again, invited to watch Mic’s videos on the subject – part 1 and unofficial part 2.

Big stew with a big salad and no oil

I think one of the primary reasons people don’t like having their oil “taken away” is that it is so ubiquitous in restaurants and food in stores, including bread, that it ends up that if you want to avoid oil completely, you have to always cook your own food and pretty much never eat anything anyone gives or prepares for you even if it’s vegan and for lots of people that is too “extreme” and “not healthy” because of the social implications. Even if you’re used to cooking your own food, if you’re really into cooking, that destroys pretty much 99% if not 100% of the recipes you’re used to cooking and you have to restrict yourself a lot or learn an entire new world of cooking from the likes of Chef AJ.

Personally, I don’t mind restricting my diversity. I was never especially diverse in the amount of different foods I ate, whether before I was vegan for ethical reasons or before I went for mostly whole plant foods for health and figure reasons.

Also, if I am exposed to fried foods, especially if they are vegan, it can be a real psychological battle to overcome the part of me which tries to rationalize eating these foods… hence my occasional junk food binges. So most of the time, I stay a lot at home where these foods just aren’t there (because I decided to follow the science and throw them away) so I don’t have to fight cognitive dissonance all the time. I personally am happy to live a relatively solitary life, but most people aren’t living alone and finding vegan people to live with is hard enough… finding people who will avoid oil and processed food on top of that is even harder.

Funnily enough, I feel like it’s much easier to find fruitarian people than it is to find people who eat whole plant foods including cooked whole plant foods, at least in my area in Israel. Even though the fruitarian style is more restrictive, it seems to be more popular because it draws the line at a simpler place – no cooked food at all! – whereas a whole plant food diet is a more nuanced approach, requiring people to pay attention not to use oil while still cooking and when people miss those nuances they don’t get the same benefits, so going fruitarian seems to work better for them, but that’s probably just because that’s the only time they ever actually went completely whole foods based.

I mostly see vegans who eat a vegan version of the standard American diet or fruitarians, who use all sorts of pseudo science claims to back up why eating all cooked food is bad. Vegans who actually go by the science and eat plant foods, cooked or raw, as long as they are unprocessed or minimally processed, are in my subjective experience the rarest breed of vegan and considered the most “extreme”. Perhaps the best anecdotal piece of evidence I have for this, is that whenever I reject X processed food saying “no thanks, I’m a whole plant food vegan and try to avoid processed food” the response I almost always get is “ah, so you only eat raw food?”

As I said, it is more complex to explain to people that you avoid salt, oil, sugar and other processed foods but you still cook than it is to say “I just eat fruits and vegetables” and that is often what my diet is boiled down to by other people when they say “I could never eat just fruits and vegetables” no matter how many times I will repeat “and whole grains and whole legumes and nuts, seeds and mushrooms”… in their minds, it seems it’s the same thing, perhaps because most of them never cooked their own grains and never heard the word legume.

Fruits are also an essential part of a healthy diet

On a personal note, I’ve always felt after eating fried food, which used to be every day… that I have to have a big sugar rush to compensate for the fat bomb in my stomach, so I would often drink Coca Cola and/or have ice cream or chocolate cake for dessert. Ever since I’ve been cooking without oil, fruit salad for dessert is more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Not Just Lettuce Eating Vegans

I finally got off my lazy ass and recorded a song! 🙂 This one is a cover of the original teenage mutant ninja turtles theme, but with alternate veganism promoting lyrics that I wrote. The clip includes subtitles in English and in Hebrew, you need to click the CC/subtitles button to enable them. I hope you enjoy it and if you did, like and share it!

Blaire White No Longer Vegan

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.

March 28th 2018