Eating raw will not ruin your life!  »

When Megan Rascal sent me this article asserting that a mostly raw diet is inherently unhealthful, I debated whether to write a response or just ignore it. It’s always a toss-up when ill-informed crap ends up in my inbox; I thought I might ignore it because I believe that giving press to bullshit can sometimes just perpetuate the bullshit, but I decided to respond because of the (growing? I hope not) misconception that raw food = crazy people food, and that high-to-fully raw people know nothing about nutrition or how to take care of ourselves, and are basically just all counting our days until our nutritional deficiencies kick in and turn us into vegetables.

The article I’m referring to, also published on a “science” blog, claims that a raw vegan diet is super unhealthful. I’ll be honest, it’s got some good (if obvious, already widely known) points in support of expanding a raw diet to incorporate cooked food. Yes, some cooked food has value, and yes, if you don’t supplement your B12 or take a multivitamin bad things will happen, but how the author takes these points and comes to such rash conclusions makes me wonder if he had a bad break-up with a raw vegan or something. When I read lines like “You have nothing to gain and much to lose by going totally or even mostly raw,” I wonder if this article was written to prove that the author’s target was on the wrong path, damn it, and look! now it says so on the Internet!

The piece completely misses the point of a high-raw vegan diet, which incorporates tons of raw greens, veggies, and fruits in whole, unprocessed form, and just picks on the zealots who refuse to supplement and only eat bananas. It even brings up the “you’ll kill your kids if you feed them raw food!” argument, which we have heard about all forms of vegan diets and continue to prove wrong.

(Side note: I hate it when vegan doctors are cited to prove that one vegan diet is better than another. This article cites Dr. Eseystein and Dr. McDougal, both of whom have made millions hawking their unique brands of veganism, as evidence against a high-raw vegan diet, which has its own doctors rooting for and staking millions in its value.)

I really appreciate Gena Hamshaw’s balanced, science-driven approach to raw food in her post “Why Raw? Revisiting the Question.” I love Vegan RD Ginny Messina’s compassionate post, “Raw or Cooked Foods? Which Is the Best Diet for Vegans?,” on why raw foodists should consider incorporating some (or lots) of cooked vegan foods to round out their diets and have an easier time staying vegan. There are plenty of folks who jettison veganism or raw veganism when health issues come up, and while I have no judgement for them I supremely admire folks who take every measure to hold true to their values while minding their health needs. Bonzai Aphrodite recently posted this beautiful long-read about how she’s navigated health issues while staying vegan. Brava! I wrote a Vegansaurus post about why there are so many ex-raw vegans and advocated for folks to consider adopting a more expansive raw vegan diet. In the context of these articles, the anger and all-or-nothing conclusions made by this article and many like it baffle me and make me think there’s a personal grudge.

Closing thoughts: Some (but not all) raw foodies are inflexible and unrealistic, just like some (but not all) vegans and some (OK, most) meat-eaters. Everyone should be taking B12, and probably a multivitamin, omega-3, and maybe a D supplement, too. Mostly raw vegans can be very happy and healthy. I am doing pretty damn well on a high-raw vegan diet that includes lots of raw greens-rich salads and raw smoothies and juices on the reg, as well as a variety of cooked foods. I just got my bloodwork done as a routine every-few-years thing so I can brag in articles like this, and my doctor said my blood is so groovy it makes her want to go vegan. So to the author of these articles, I say this: Please don’t judge all high-raw vegans based on a tiny fraction of us who go to extremes, and in return, I promise not to call the raw vegan who broke your heart and alert this person that you’re hella casting aspersions on them.

[Photo of Pure Food and Wine's tacos by Edsel Little via Flickr]


Sea otters now free to traverse the entire California coast!  »

Did you know that since 1987, sea otters were federally banned from going past Point Conception in Santa Barbara County? That’s right, every time you saw a sea otter in the wilds of Southern California (except off San Nicolas Island), it was breaking the law! Are you imagining them in little raccoon-style eye masks now, because I totally am.

It gets more ridiculous: Between 1987 and 2001, authorities actually relocated—as in, physically moved—otters that strayed past the completely arbitrary boundary. And the ones that defied the law by daring to live south of that imaginary border weren’t even granted federal protection as an endangered species, despite being the same species as the otters living in the “acceptable”  area!

As of Dec. 18, 2012, though, our otter pals are officially allowed to roam the California coast at will, and the U.S. government extends endangered species protection to every tricksy sea weasel swimming with us.

Further details at the Santa Cruz Sentinel and The Awl.

[Photo by Mike Baird via Flickr]


Please don’t hurt the beef industry’s feelings by suggesting people stop eating animals during a drought!  »

Last week, Heather Moore posted 561 words in North Dakota’s Inforum on the benefits of adopting a vegan diet during a drought. It’s expensive to raise animals for food during a drought, she says; why not just eat the grain products, which are always less expensive to grow?

Naturally, this about broke the heart of BEEF Daily Blog’s Amanda Radke, who cannot believe “that a reporter in the heart of a city that is home to an agricultural college would suggest these things.” Not eating meat? In North Dakota? When you could be cutting out your daily coffee and using that money to pay for pork chops?

Never mind that Moore isn’t a “Fargo, ND, news reporter” but a blogger for PETA Prime, and her piece, “Go vegan during drought,” was posted in Inforum’s Opinions section.  Radke seems to take Moore’s suggestion personally, as though by advocating an animal-free diet she is slapping everyone who’s ever commercially raised an animal for consumption in their weather-beaten, Midwestern faces. Be cool, Amanda! This is one of the least aggressive or obnoxious op-eds I’ve ever read from PETA—it’s downright reasonable and measured in tone. Really, Heather Moore deserves a cookie.

And Amanda Radke could use a big bowl of cucumber soup. It’s as refreshing as a calm discussion about the economic benefits of eating fewer animal products during a drought!

[Photo of “prairie and wheat field fire north of Richardton, N.D.,” by Darla Hueske via Flickr]


“ The problem with foie gras is that it’s not important. It’s the tyranny of a small minority of passionate people victimizing an even smaller minority of passionate people. „

The California foie gras ban finally takes effect (after eight years of fruitless searching for a “humane alternative” to gavage) in less than a week! Dana Goodyear wrote a brief post for the New Yorker about a protest of one of those creepy last chance foie gras dinners chefs are putting on here, this one in Los Angeles; the quote is from Mark Peel of Campanile and it is rich.

Did you know that foie gras protesters are actually victimizing people who eat foie gras? Victimizing! Is there anything more ridiculous than a defensive omnivore? Yes: an omnivore getting defensive about a nonsensical, disgusting luxury food.

But don’t worry, California foie gras-lovers; chefs can still serve your precious food, as long as they don’t sell it, which Bloomberg reports some chefs are totally planning to do. Or they might charge a preparation fee to customers who bring in their own foie gras! FREEDOM!


Want a quick laugh? Check out the Center for Consumer Freedom’s anti-HSUS ad, which aired during the Oscars on Sunday. The CCF is the same organization that campaigns against tanning bed legislation, teachers unions, all unions, MADD, ACORN, PETA, and HSUS, among many, many others. Against public policy change? Call Rick Berman! He’ll denigrate anyone for money!

Read more about this nonsense at Mother Jones, or check out Berman Exposed.


Celebrities love the Alkaline diet. Just go vegan already, you dopes  »

Details has this little sneeze of an article, just a hiccup really, about the popularity of the Alkaline diet with the muscled bo-hunks of Hollywood. Yes! “The hardened Spam tower known as Channing Tatum” (LAWSON) appreciates a daily high-alkaline smoothie, as does Mr. The Dutchess (the Dutke?), Josh Duhamel.

The Alkaline diet seeks to balance the body’s pH levels by eating a diet heavy on “fresh citrus and other low-sugar fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, and legumes and avoiding grains, dairy, meat, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and fungi.” The idea is that high-alkaline or alkaline-forming foods are more easily processed by the body.

One might say that this is another way of describing the diet every nutritionist and dietician worth their salt advocates, with the usual terrifying caveats (it’s not a diet if you don’t have to give up at least two foods that make life worth living). One might say that people love pseudoscientific explanations for their choices—“I’m not eating bread because carbs kill!” “I’m not eating sugar because acid!”—but one might also say that if people are eating a plant-based diet and laying off the g-d meat then who cares what kind of nonsense is influencing them to do it.

I don’t understand why people who eschew meat and dairy in favor of beans and greens are eager to call themselves followers of all kinds of scientifically unsupported diets, instead of using the word “vegan.” Bill Clinton isn’t afraid of saying it! Why are you dummies?

[photo by Belinda via Flickr]


Elle Macpherson ingests rhino horns, sucks  »

Elle Macpherson is attractive, sure, but she looks a lot less beautiful to me after reading about this Twitter interview she recently did with The Times Online, where she discussed her use of rhino horn, saying “it works for me.”

That’s just delightful that it works for her—it probably doesn’t!—but unfortunately it definitely does not work for rhinos.

There are five species and 11 subspecies of rhinos; three of the five species are critically endangered, while white rhinos are “near threatened” and Indian rhinos are “vulnerable.” There are thought to be only about 60 Javan rhinos left in the entire world. Despite their endangered status, poaching of rhinos continues and is growing — fueled by the high prices that can be fetched for their horns, which are used in Chinese medicine. Rhino horn is worth about 50 percent more, per kilogram, than gold, which only contributes further poaching. When you get celebrities like Elle Macpherson talking about how awesome rhino horn powder is — even if it’s also illegal for her to use it — the appeal of the product is only heightened.

IFAW quickly denounced Macpherson’s statements, but you can help as well: Talk to people about rhinos and why their poaching for horns is such a problem, donate to a group working towards their conservation, and maybe consider sending a reasonable and informed tweet to Ms. Macpherson to let her know that what she’s supporting is dangerous and wrong, and why.

[photos by Clem Evans and John Morris via Flickr]


Natalie Portman, please stop talking about your diet!  »

Because I am an asshole who hates myself, I continue to follow the story of Natalie Portman’s ever-changing veganity. I mean, until today. Today I cry, “uncle!” You win, Portman. I just can’t care anymore. That is, AFTER THIS LITTLE BIT OF RANTY BUSINESS.

My tale of “is she or isn’t she?” woe started a couple years ago, and was finally brought to resolution when she announced on HuffPo that she was FOR SURE 100 percent VEGAN. But all good things must come to an end, and so in January Vogue* Portman was all, “I’m vegan when dining out and vegetarian at home!” (Because that makes sense!) AND THEN, she apparently cooked her fiance a whole dead chicken or something (this was allegedly in People magazine, but I never saw it and can’t find anything on the internet because I don’t really feel like trying today) and NOW THIS.

Her pregnant body spoke to her (it’s a miracle!) and was all, “Eat eggs and helllllllla cookies!” and she was all, “OK, body!” It’s especially obnoxious because there are a million places to get vegan cookies in Los Angeles. Maybe she just needed to holler at quarrygirl? She’d hook her up with a million vegan cookies, and they’d be the best motherflipping cookies ever! I can’t speak to the egg thing because they gross me out, but unless she’s cracking them open and sucking them down raw, there are good vegan subs for pretty much every eggy thing you could desire. From tofu scrambles to custards, vegan chefs got your back! As far as resources for a healthy vegan pregnancy, there are about a billion and you know if ANYONE can access them, it’s Natalie “I HAVE ALL THE RESOURCES” Portman!

Aside from thinking her reasoning is bullshit, I just kinda wish she’d shut the fuck up about it. It’s like, I don’t really give a shit if Natalie Portman eats bloody steaks 24/7, I just don’t want her to broadcast it to the world. Obviously people look up to and emulate her because she’s famous and that’s how our shit culture works, and if the egregious abuse and murder of animals used for food upsets her to the extent she claims it does, why talk about anything but veganism when speaking publicly? Or if that’s not an option: JUST SAY NOTHING.

I get it, she needs some fucking cookies and vegan cookies are slightly harder to find than ones made with eggs, so she’s eating egg cookies. I say, eat all of the egg cookies, Natalie Portman. In fact, I think you’d look amazing as a fellow fatty, BUT PLEASE JUST STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. People look up to you; help educate them about the atrocity of animal agriculture instead of your own fluctuating diet. Use your platform for good. I know you get it and you care, and you have the opportunity to inform millions on how fucked it all is. I know it’s not right and it’s not fair and you didn’t ask for this responsibility, but you have a huge platform and it’s gross to me if you use it for anything but talking about how disgusting and disturbing slaughterhouses and factory farms are and how amazing vegan food is. And if you can’t do that, the least you could do is not talk about it at all.

*OMG, that whole article is soooooo amaaaazing and hilarious. One of her friends basically says that everyone is born with the face they deserve, and that’s why Portman is so beautiful! Um, yes, those kids born with cleft palettes are obviously total assholes. SO AMAZING.


The “Conscious Case Against Veganism” is so wrong for so long!  »

After reading this insane bit of poorly reasoned crazy on EcoSalon, Laura decided to write a rebuttal, and it’s great! It’s everything the other article isn’t: sane, logical, and smart. 

So, read it!

Abigail Wick, the author of the Conscious Case piece, appears intent on selling herself as a former vegan for pageviews. It’s sad. People who give a shit about eating issues need to stand up for the things that REALLY matter. Focusing their efforts on taking down a group of ethical eaters is just a poor use of time. If Wick gave a shit about the food system, she would be writing about gestation crates and working conditions in American slaughterhouses. I can think of about 10 million better uses for her time, but probably none of them would garner her terrible writing as many pageviews as the vegan hate.

What an idiot.

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