I got an almond latte today at the train station to drink on the train but there is something wrong with the lid and cup. It keeps leaking. There is now a coffee stain on my shirt.
I normally buy men’s business suits in Myer, but after I became vegan I found that I could not shop there because just about every single suit there has wool in it. If there were any polyester suits there, they would look really cheap and poor, so I couldn’t buy a suit there.
I searched the internet and noticed that Tarocash has stores all around Australia and, according to their websites, their suits are made of a blend if polyester, viscose, and elastane, which are vegan fabrics.
The Tarocash website is very helpful because you are able to buy products online, and the product listings are detailed enough that you can determine what sort of fabrics they use. I was checking the website in early January, which is fortunate because there were many discounts offered on the website.
I never buy suits (or any clothing) online because it’s too risky. I like to try it on in person to see if it fits, and I like to see the fabrics with my own eyes.
I identified the nearest Tarocash on their website and visited their store.
What I found was that the salespeople in Tarocash are a lot more persistent than in, say, Myer. They will come up to you, ask you to try a suit, and then suggest some for you. In Myer they mostly just leave you alone. I actually welcomed a bit of persistence from the salespeople because I wanted someone to guide me. My advice is to keep asking many questions and to try on different suits so that you are sure you are getting what you want.
The suits at Tarocash are made of a polyester blend, and polyester is usually looked down upon by wool suit purists, but there are many different textures of suits at Tarocash and many of them look very nice. All the suits I saw did not have wool in them.
One of the benefits of a non-wool suit is that they tend to be significantly cheaper, and they are not necessarily worse in terms of quality. You really need to touch and see the suits for yourself.
I ended up buying a grey suit for $150 as it was on sale. Clothes are usually cheap after the Christmas holidays, and post-holiday discounts usually last throughout January.
My advice is to expect to spend around $200 to $300, go to your local Tarocash during January, and let the staff there help you with size.
Even though the suits that I saw in Tarocash did not have wool in them, there is no vegan certification on them, so I am not fully certain if they are vegan or not. If Tarocash could clarify, that would be helpful.
I recently purchased So Good’s soy ice cream from Woolworths. I am fairly certain this is vegan because I’ve seen Freelee the Banana Girl eat it.
Overall it is a tasty chocolate ice cream. I love to eat ice cream after dinner if the dinner I had is too small and doesn’t fill me up.
One downside to this product is that it seems to melt quickly compared to the So Good coconut ice creams.
If being vegan necessitates having to eat food that have been fortified with nutrients artificially just to maintain a healthy body, does that mean the vegan diet is unhealthy?
No, the vegan diet is healthy. Vitamin B12 is a necessary nutrient that does not come from plants. However, vitamin B12 is also not an animal product. Rather, vitamin B12 is derived from bacteria. As the vegan diet does not forbid food derived from bacteria, vitamin B12 in fortified food or from pills can be taken as part of a vegan diet.
In terms of whether taking an unnatural food is unhealthy, the answer is no. Processed or unnatural food is not necessarily unhealthy. This is the “appeal to nature” fallacy. There are no toxicology reports that prove that vitamin B12 is toxic and there is no scientific evidence that food that is processed is necessarily more toxic than food that is unprocessed.
What is natural?
There is significant industrialization nowadays that it’s very difficult to know what is natural or unnatural food.
The main problem with the term “natural” is that it is not scientific. There is no consistent definition.
Natural foods and all natural foods are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is often assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and all of whose ingredients are natural products (in the chemist’s sense of that term), but the lack of standards in most jurisdictions means that the term assures nothing. In some countries, the term “natural” is defined and enforced. In others, such as the United States, it has no meaning.
Most people believe that a natural product is one that has not been chemically altered or processed. However, even cooking a product chemically alters it, and so do we classify the cooked beans we ate as natural or not?
Some go as far as to say that a natural product is not cooked and is completely raw (see raw foodism). Natural food is only natural if you can pick it from the ground or from a tree and there is no human intervention thereafter.
However, even with this raw food definition, there is a problem because raw and unprocessed food is not necessarily healthy.
Death cap mushrooms
Death cap mushroom are very natural. You pick it from the ground and do not process it in any way. However, if you eat a death cap mushroom, you will die.
Take another example. A multivitamin is highly processed yet it is healthy. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends you take a multivitamin every day.
Then there is water. Natural water is water from a pond. Pond water can provide us with nutrients. For example, pond water contains vitamin B12.
If vitamin B12 is found in pond water, why not drink pond water?
Pond water is likely to also contain dirt and feces. It is cleaner and healthier, rather than drinking natural pond water, to drink water from a tap, bottled water, or filtered water, all of which are processed and unnatural.
Of course, filtered water does not contain vitamin B12. However, vitamin B12 pills do contain vitamin B12.
Why not just take vitamin B12 pills?
Many will argue that vitamin B12 pills are not natural. But tap water or bottled water is not natural either. Pond water is natural. Do these people drink pond water rather than tap water?
Pond water may contain vitamin B12 but it also contains harmful germs. Likewise, meat contains vitamin B12 but also saturated fat and trans fat.
Supplements are not necessarily unhealthy
Some supplements are healthy and some supplements are unhealthy. Death cap mushrooms are natural but toxic. Aspirin is artificial, processed, but healthy.
As I said, tap water is unnatural and may even have flouride in it. Even salt is commonly fortified with iodine. Why is everything else in our lives unnatural (even non-vegan food) but we demand natural vegan food?
Is it just an excuse?
When it comes to veganism, I believe in replacement. Veganism should not be a sacrifice. You simply take an animal product (such as cows milk) and simply replace it with a plant products (such as soy milk or almond milk).
Lately I have noticed many cafes in Melbourne, Australia giving customers the option of using almond milk in their coffee. However, a few days ago I tried an almond latte at a cafe that has only recently offered almond milk (after I unsuccessfully tried to order one), and it tasted bad. To be honest, it tasted like dairy milk. Just to be sure, I ordered another almond latte from them and watched them make it. They definitely used almond milk. The almond milk brand they used was Almond Breeze Barista Blend.
I kept trying different almond milk lattes from different cafes until I found one that was right for me.
The lesson here is rest almond milk is variable. There are many different types if almond milk on the market. If one type of almond milk or almond milk coffee doesn’t taste right, simply try another. Don’t give up on almond milk.
When I ate meat, I remember I ate meat very freely. I may have known that what I was doing was exploitative and that I was oppressing weaker beings, but people, when they are in the habit of doing something that they are addicted to or that benefits them, when it takes effort to change, they will naturally just rationalize it away.
If you were born into a family that owned and benefited from the slave trade, do you think you’d be likely to grow up and have moral qualms about it? No, if the opportunity is there for easy gain, people will usually take it and they will justify it after to themselves or to others.
There are many who believe that eating a plant-based diet will leave them protein deficient.
It is easy to understand why many would believe this is the case. Below is a list of food ranked by the PDCAAS (protein digestibility corrected amino acid score), which is the measure of protein quality used by the World Health Organization. The list comes from Wikipedia.
1-1.21 cow’s milk
1 casein (milk protein)
1 soy protein
1 whey (milk protein)
0.87 Sacha Inchi Powder
0.82 pea protein isolate
0.78 chickpeas and soybeans
0.75 black beans
Any food with a PDCAAS of 1.0 is a “perfect protein.” In 1990, the FAO/WHO decided that “proteins having values higher than 1.0 would be rounded or ‘leveled down’ to 1.0 as scores above 1.0 are considered to indicate the protein contains essential amino acids in excess of the human requirements.”
As you can see on the list, there are plenty of vegan options on that list that are equivalent to animal products. For example, rather than eat beef (0.92) you can eat soy (0.91). Rather than drink whey protein (1.0), you can drink soy protein (1.0).
However, someone eating, say, black beans, may believe that he would become protein deficient because black beans have a PDCAAS of 0.75.
However, people generally don’t eat the same food all the time. A key limitation of the PDCAAS is that it doesn’t take into consideration the fact that if you eat two or more foods with low PDCAAS, the combination of these foods can create a perfect PDCAAS of 1.0.
This concept is explained in the article: “[G]rain protein has a PDCAAS of about 0.4 to 0.5, limited by lysine. On the other hand, it contains more than enough methionine. White bean protein (and that of many other pulses) has a PDCAAS of 0.6 to 0.7, limited by methionine, and contains more than enough lysine. When both are eaten in roughly equal quantities in a diet, the PDCAAS of the combined constituent is 1.0, because each constituent’s protein is complemented by the other.”
Should we worry about protein deficiency? Is anyone protein deficient?
The video below by Dr Michael Gregor shows that statistically speaking, 97% of Americans are deficient in fiber whereas only 3% of Americans are deficient in protein. For the average person, getting enough fiber is far more of a concern than getting enough protein. Just about everyone gets more than enough protein.