02 December 2017

Vegans are Not Perfect

This is a common argument people use against veganism. People claim that no one is perfect and therefore vegans cannot be telling others not to eat meat because they too are not perfect. For example, when plants are grown, insects are harmed when tractors harvest the plants.

Vegans seek to minimize the pain and suffering inflicted on other beings. No vegan is perfect as you could argue even just breathing can harm a living being due to the butterfly effect, but most people would agree that just because it's impossible to never harm living beings, there should still be attempts to mitigate harm e.g. animal cruelty laws and laws that protect humans e.g. laws prohibiting murder, rape, etc.

Many people justify eating meat saying no one is perfect therefore they should be allowed to kill animals, but do any of these people use the same argument to justify abolishing murder legislation?

The definition of veganism as provided by the Vegan Society is as follows: "Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

The way I see it, animals are today's slaves. Only hundreds of years ago there were groups of humans deemed subhuman and subjugating them was seen as natural by social darwinists. Today humans widely believe in a social darwinism applied to animals, that animals are lesser beings. My hope is that as humans evolve animals will gain rights as did slaves, women, etc.

Inefficiency of meat production

Something else I should point out is that it is true that growing plants can kill insects, but plants grown are used to not only feed humans but also livestock. Growing plants kills insects, but keep in mind that livestock, in order to grow, are fed plants. Figures vary, but it takes between 2kg to 7kg of plant feed (mostly soy and corn) to produce 1kg of meat. Hence more plants must be grown to feed meat eaters than to feed vegans due to energy lost. The greatest energy loss is found in warm-blooded animals like cows as the chemical energy in plants must be converted into heat to keep the animals' blood warm. In cold-blooded animals such as fish and even insects the feed to meat ratio is lower. Nevertheless, it is never as efficient than if the "middleman" is cut and the human consumes the plant directly.

23 September 2017

Vegan Toothpaste in Australia - Grants Toothpaste

Originally when I wanted certified vegan toothpaste, I looked online and imported something from overseas. However, Woolworths now has Grants toothpaste, which is certified vegan. This toothpaste has no animal ingredients and is not tested on animals. It also has no fluoride, which I think is unfortunate because I am not fully convinced that fluoride is healthy, and most vegan toothpaste just happens to have no fluoride. Nevertheless, fluoride is not something I feel I need, so I am happy to buy toothpaste that is certified vegan.

17 September 2017

All Sukin Products are Vegan

I normally don't think too much about shampoo and conditioner for my hair. I just use whatever is in the shower. However, after I became vegan, I wanted a hair product that was certified vegan. I had heard about the #nopoo (no shampoo) movement, but when I tried this for a few weeks realised that my hair became dirty, oily, and thick, so I had to find vegan shampoo.

Thankfully Chemist Warehouse had Sukin shampoo, which I have been using for a few months now. Recently I learned that it is best to use both shampoo and conditioner, so today I purchased a Sukin conditioner as well. I also learned on the Sukin website that all Sukin products are vegan. Not only are all Sukin products vegan but they are also carbon neutral and do not contain a number of other "nasties" as well.

I will also point out that I have no idea whether this conditioner is a female product or not. I figure it doesn't matter too much but I may be wrong.

27 July 2017

How to Get Nutritional Yeast in Melbourne (or Anywhere Else)

When going vegan and giving up meat, dairy and eggs, one nutritional concern is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is derived from bacteria and is naturally found in soil. Because plant food is normally washed clean, soil and therefore vitamin B12 is washed off. Since animals eat soil, bacteria can enter their bodies and produce vitamin B12 in the animals' guts. However, most meat today comes from factory farms where animals eat animal feed that does not contain vitamin B12, so these animals get vitamin B12 from B12 supplements that are either added to their feed or the B12 is directly injected into the animal.

Regardless of whether you get vitamin B12 from animals or supplements, either way the B12 is originally derived from bacteria. It is far more efficient to get the B12 from the bacteria directly than via the "middleman" which is the slaughtered animal.

I have always been a fan of taking vitamin B12 pills, but lately I have found that eating and drinking food with fortified vitamin B12 is much easier because taking pills is a chore whereas eating delicious food like nutritional yeast is something you want to do because it tastes good.

When buying nutritional yeast it is important to know that not all nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, and yeast is not a form of bacterium but rather it is a fungus. Nutritional yeast contains a lot of B vitamins but not vitamin B12. However, many nutritional yeast brands incorporate bacteria into the production process such that vitamin B12 is produced as well.

Simply check the label to see if the nutritional yeast brand contains vitamin B12.

Often nutritional yeast is available from health food or natural food stores, but I recommend simply buying it online via iHerb.





Linseed Meal or Ground Flaxseed for Omega 3

I bought some linseed meal from Chemist Warehouse. Linseed (also known as flaxseed) is a good vegan source of omega 3. It is best to eat ground linseed as crushing linseeds releases nutrients. One tablespoon of linseed meal contains about 1500 mg of ALA. ALA gets converted in the body into DHA and EPA. One to two tablespoons per day of linseed meal will provide you with enough omega 3. Even though the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA is low, there is so much ALA in linseed that it doesn’t matter. The recommended amount of DHA per day is about 100 mg. Another vegan source of DHA and EPA is algae oil. Most DHA supplements are derived from microalgae. A non-vegan source of DHA and EPA is fish, but fish also contains industrial pollutants such as mercury, DDT, dieldrin, microplastics, and other industrial toxins. Better to stick with the vegan sources of omega 3, namely ground linseed/flaxseed or microalgae based supplements.

10 June 2017

Crumpets with Nuttelex and Cacao Nibs

I took a photo because it looked unique, but this actually turned out to be pretty disgusting.

06 June 2017

Quorn Vegan Nuggets Available at Woolworths

Quorn has long been renowned for making vegetarian meat made from mycoprotein, which is derived from fungus.

Quorn is normally vegetarian and not vegan because it contains egg whites. However, recently Quorn has produced a number of vegan products that are now available at Woolworths around Australia.

Quorn Vegan Nuggets are made in the United Kingdom and are free from soy.  The ingredients are below.

My verdict on the product after eating it is that it is too dry, although eating it with avocado seems to help as it adds creaminess.

03 June 2017

Is Codral Vegan?

It is deep in winter here in Melbourne and I am sick with a runny nose. I also cough all the time. It is flu and cold season.

I have coped with the sickness simply by drinking green tea, which I found to help with help. Matcha tea in particular seems to help.

Another common treatment for the cold is olive leaf extract, which is also vegan. I simply mix olive leaf extract with warm water and drink it.

As far as throat lozenges go, I have discovered that some Codral variants are vegan. It is thankfully fully labelled on Codral's website. I have been taking Codral Sore Throat Lozenges Soothing + Menthol Flavour, which is vegan.

The easiest way to see if something is vegan or not is to simply google it.

Screenshot 2017-06-03 at 3.01.53 PM


20 May 2017

The Hidden Benefits of Eating Less Meat

This is a great documentary by Radu on the problem of consuming meat.

17 March 2017

Aussielent RTD (Bottled Australian Soylent)

I went to the State Library over the weekend. I love the State Library. I love the atmosphere of the place. Most of the libraries near where I live are filled with weirdos, senior citizens, or high school kids, but the State Library is pretty much all filled with university students, and these people are usually very quiet and hardworking. I've also seen lots of digital nomads at the State Library as well.

I love how, when I walk out of the State Library, there is a yard where people play chess and then there are student lying on the grass. It's a very lively place. All around are residential skyscrapers, so it feels like a youthful oasis in the middle of the city. I love it.

Anyway, I arrived at the State Library at around 11 a.m. and I left at around 5 p.m. so that meant I was working for about six hours straight! I was a bit sore from it all, but I was able to do all this work without taking a lunch break simply because I had a bottle of Aussielent RTD on me, and I was sipping on it the whole time. Pretty much whenever I felt hungry, I took a sip. There is no break for lunch or dinner. I just drink when I was hungry. After I was done with it, I threw the bottle in the recycling bin. It is very convenient. No more expensive meals, no cooking, no cleaning. I started drinking Aussielent RTD a few days ago. At first I drank Aussielent Body, which is a powdered version of the meal replacement shake, but the problem with this powdered version is that it didn't taste good and it also wasn't convenient. Having to mix powder with water is so inconvenient that I couldn't bring the product to work or, in this case, to the library.

Aussielent RTD is in self-contained in a bottle, so you don't need to mix it with anything. When I started drinking Aussielent RTD, I wasn't a fan of the taste, but I think I've gotten used to the taste now, and I do like it. It is important, in my opinion, to keep it chilled in the refrigerator because warm Aussielent does not taste good! 

One if the main problems with the taste of Aussielent RTD is that it feels like drinking paint. It has a very plastic and artificial taste.

Whenever I go to work or whenever I go out of the house, I throw a bottle of Aussielent RTD in my bag. It has very sturdy wrapping, so I don't need to worry about leakages. Then when I am hungry, rather than waste $10 to $20 eating out, I drink one bottle of Aussielent RTD. If you bulk buy four bottles at once, each bottle of Aussielent RTD works out to be about $4 each, so if you take it to work and drink it for lunch you will save money because one bottle is about the cost of a latte (and about five times the calories).

Another benefit of Aussielent RTD is that it has been engineered to include all the nutrients you need to live, so you don't need to worry about nutritional deficiencies.

Aussielent RTD can be purchased online via aussielent.com.au.



05 March 2017

Avocado with Coconut Sugar

I am not sure if it's healthy, but I have just discovered that avocado goes very well with coconut sugar. Give it a try!

18 February 2017

Deva Omega 3 DHA-EPA

In theory vegans do not need to take omega 3 supplements because there are many vegan foods with omega 3 in them, such as chia seeds or ground flaxseeds. Dr Michael Gregor recommends two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day to get your omega 3 requirements. However, the form of omega 3 in most plant food is ALA (alpha linoleic acid). DHA and EPA (which are important for brain function) can be made by the body using ALA, but the concern by some is that the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA is not efficient.

The main sources of DHA and EPA are algae or fish. Fish get DHA and EPA from eating algae. The main concern with eating fish is the risk of industrial pollutants such as mercury. To avoid any concern about mercury, I take DHA and EPA supplements purchased off iHerb. These supplements contain DHA and EPA from algae grown on land in controlled conditions ensuring no industrial contaminants.

I am personally using the Deva Omega 3 DHA-EPA I have purchased off iHerb, but if there is one criticism I have it is that they have a very fishy taste and the capsules seem moist when you touch it. I have tried other omega 3 supplements that don't seem to have this issue, such as the Source Naturals vegan omega 3 brand.

08 January 2017

Stronger Beings Exploit Weaker Beings

In nature, stronger beings exploit weaker beings. Strong humans exploit weak humans who in turn exploit weaker humans who in turn exploit animals. This chain of domination and subordination ends up enslaving almost every being to some degree, and freedom is rare. It is possible for slaves to break free of their shackles. Slavery thousands of years before was achieved using whips and chains, but today it is primarily achieved using debt, inflation, and marketing. Men are piled with debt: student loans, mortgage, car loan, phone plans, school fees, and credit card debt. We slave away in a 9 to 5 job to pay off these debts, and we typically work till we are very old. Money printing and fractional reserve banking increase the supply of money in the economy, which increases the price of everything. Marketing increases the demand for everything by making us spend more on stuff (benefiting retailers). To afford all, this we borrow money and end up paying interest (benefiting banks). If we spend more, we divert less of our income into what really gives us freedom, namely dividend-paying shares and interest-paying bonds. If you pay debt, you are a slave and you work for others. If you own debt, you are a slave owner, and others work for you. Don't borrow from the bank. Own the bank instead. Avoid debt, avoid obligation, and avoid commitment. Free yourself first, and once you escape from slavery, help other slaves free themselves. Be a free man, be accountable to no one, owe nothing. Do what you want, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, how you want.

Tarocash Vegan Non-Wool Men's Business Suits in Australia?

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.