Is Lifestyle Veganism Making a Difference?

There are many online vegan celebrities who spend a considerable amount of time travelling around the world to exotic locations. These “lifestyle vegans” earn enough money from YouTube ad revenue, ebooks, t-shirt sales, etc to be able to fund their travel lifestyles. There are many vegans who do this, such as Henya, Jason Pizzino, Bonny Rebecca, Kalel, and even bodybuilder Jon Venus.

There are many who don’t agree with this lifestyle, saying that it is not real activism and that travelling in Thailand does not help the animals. For example, in the video below, there is barely any reference to animal welfare. Bonny Rebecca and her friends are climbing waterfalls in Chiang Mai while at the RT4 Thai Bike Festival.

After watching these vegan travel videos, it’s easy to question how this has any benefit to animal welfare. Many of these lifestyle vegans constantly discuss how their actions are a form of activism.

One benefit of lifestyle veganism is that it communicates to viewers how to be vegan while travelling. It also demonstrate how easy it is to be vegan while living a mainstream life. One common criticism of veganism is that it is restrictive and difficult, but viewers can watch for themselves how easy and effortless it is to live a life that reduces harm to animals.

The value of lifestyle veganism can also be understood by looking at Tesla. Before Tesla came out with fast and beautiful electric cars, all electric cars were seen as small and slow. It was considered a sacrifice to drive an electric car because they were simply bad cars that you drove only to help the environment. They were not seen as attractive. People are drawn to attractive things, and most people are not attracted to attending protests or watching animal torture videos.

Too many people believe that veganism is a sacrifice when in reality vegans don’t need to sacrifice anything. For example, I still eat meat, milk, cheese, and I still travel and wear nice clothes, but I simply eat vegan meat, soy milk, vegan cheese, and when wearing clothes I wear plant or synthetic fabrics rather than leather, cashmere, silk, etc.

Then there are areas where veganism is not a sacrifice, where veganism is actually an advantage, for example, I worry much less about obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease now that I am vegan whereas I was constantly worried about these health problems when I was a meat eater.

Q&A: Is conversion of ALA to DHA inefficient?

Question:

Don’t we need DHA to be healthy? You cannot consume ALA and rely on it to give you DHA because conversion of ALA to DHA is poor. The science is there. We only convert about 4% of ALA to DHA, and for EPA plus DHA, only 12%. See the study below:

http://www.dhaomega3.org/Overview/Conversion-Efficiency-of-ALA-to-DHA-in-Humans

Answer:

Vegans can easily get DHA by taking microalgae-based DHA supplements. I recommend taking DHA and EPA supplements from Deva Nutrition. The Deva supplements contain about 130 mg of DHA per pill, and it is recommended you take one or two per day. Let’s just round it up and say we need 200 mg of DHA per day (there is actually no medical consensus on how much DHA you need per day).

Suppose you didn’t want to take DHA supplements because you couldn’t afford them. If conversion of ALA to DHA is 4% then that means we need 5 grams of ALA per day. 15% of chia seeds by weight is ALA, which means we only need 33 grams of chia seeds per day, which is about two tablespoons.

Will Cyanide in Vitamin B12 Supplements Kill You? 

One of the most common arguments used against the vegan diet is the argument that you will develop a nutritional deficiency and, in particular, a deficiency in vitamin B12.

However, although it is possible for a vegan to have a vitamin B12 deficiency, being a vegan doesn’t necessarily mean you will become vitamin B12 deficient.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can easily be found in fortified food or drinks such as Vitasoy Original Soy Milk, which contains 50% of your recommended dietary intake of vitamin B12 per cup. Vitamin B12 can even be found in Braggs Nutritional Yeast as well a vegan meat from the Fry Family Food Co. In Australia, the Vitasoy soy milk and Fry Family vegan meats can be found in Woolworths (also known as Safeway) supermarkets. Nutritional yeast is more difficult to find, in my opinion.

If your diet is low in vitamin B12 fortified food, an alternative is to take vitamin B12 supplements, which can be purchased from either your local chemist or online via major retailers such as Amazon or iHerb.

However, some people have raised concerns that most vitamin B12 supplements on the market contain cyanide in them and therefore they are poisonous.

There are B12 supplements without cyanide called methylcobalamin. Many vegans who are afraid of cyanide poisoning take this form of vitamin B12 due to fears of cyanide poisoning. However I take cyanocobalamin. I am aware it contains cyanide in it (or when it breaks down in the body it forms cyanide), but I do not consider it harmful. The levels of cyanide are too small to be of any harm.

Cyanide is a natural chemical that is found in water, soil, and even the air that you breathe as well as fruits and vegetables that you eat. The amounts found in cyanocobalamin are so small that they pale in comparison to the amount you absorb naturally via vegetables, air, etc. Jack Norris RD’s page provides a great explanation:

“The safety of cyanocobalamin has raised concerns due to the fact that cyanide is a component of cyanocobalamin, and the cyanide molecule is removed from cyanocobalamin when used by the body’s cells. Cyanide is also found in many fruits and vegetables and so humans are always ingesting small amounts of cyanide, and like in most fruits and vegetables, the amount of cyanide in cyanocobalamin is considered to be physiologically insignificant.

“According to the European Food Safety Authority, ‘Data of from a Norwegian dietary survey show that the average and high (97.5th percentile) daily intake of [cyanide] among consumers amounts to respectively 95 and 372 micrograms/person or 1.4 and 5.4 micrograms/kg bw/day (7).’ The amount of cyanide in a 1,000 microgram cyanocobalamin is 20 micrograms.”

Safety of Cyanide in Cyanocobalamin

Review: Mantra Lounge

Recently I had lunch at Mantra Lounge in Carlton. The place is near Melbourne University. It was a cold day, so I needed to eat something warm, and the food pictures on the internet for this place looked like they served warm food. In fact, even during the summer I prefer eating warm cooked food because I have sensitive teeth.

Mantra Lounge is 100% vegan, which is refreshing because it means I can order without worry and feel normal. I don’t need to explain to anyone that I want no cheese, etc.

I ordered a “supreme” meal deal for about $18 and received a plate of lasagna with a salad (beans). I also had a chocolate “pleasecake” and a hot chocolate. The meal was extremely filling, and on a cold day it was very warm.

The location is also nice as it overlooks the old buildings of Melbourne University. There are giant old trees on the road. Leaves were falling from these old trees as I ate, which was very pleasant.

 

 

 

 

Review: Monk Bodhi Dharma Balaclava

Monk Bodhi Dharma is quite a small place. It’s important to look at the Monk Bodhi Dharma website as well as Google Maps first to see where it is. The website instructs you to park in a nearby Woolworths parking area, and from there it is a short walk to the cafe/deli. Thankfully you don’t need to pay anything at the Woolworths carpark. Driving and parking here is really easy.

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Source: monkbodhidharma.com

When I arrived, it was a Sunday morning, so it was quite busy. A group of friends and I needed to wait fifteen minutes. Once inside, I noticed that the place is cramped and crowded. Everything on the menu is vegetarian and can be veganized. I ordered a veganized avocado on toast (called “The Avo”). This dish was recommended to me and I enjoyed it. The avocado was delicious because they mixed something into it (perhaps chilli) that enhanced the taste. I really liked it. If I had to give one criticism, it would be the bread, which was a little too hard for my liking. I also had a soy flat white with my meal. I was told that the coffee in this place is renowned all over Melbourne. I am not a coffee expert, so I cannot give my opinion. Most coffee for me is the same, so I end up judging a cafe by how extensive their vegan milk options are and how happy and nice the staff are.

All up I paid $19 for both the avocado on toast as well as the soy flat white. The place accepted Mastercard.

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The Avo (Vegan) at Monk Bodhi Dharma Balaclava