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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3)
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reducing the suffering of farmed animals
by promoting informed, ethical eating.

Donations to VO are fully tax-deductible.
VO’s tax identification no. is #86-0736818.

Vegan Outreach
POB 1916, Davis, CA 95617-1916



Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  February 14, 2003


Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?'
Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?'
Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?'
But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'

And there comes a point when one must take a position that is
neither safe,
nor polite,
nor popular,
but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that
it is right.
     -Martin Luther King, Jr.


Welcome to Vegan Spam, the Email Newsletter of Vegan Outreach

If you would like to unsubscribe now or at any point in the future, just follow the link at the bottom of each issue.

Because of some links and emails, many people are receiving Vegan Spam for the first time this week. You can read previous issues of VS online.


A Brief Introduction

Vegan Outreach is dedicated to two main areas of action:

1. Widespread mass advocacy with accurate and thorough information. We pursue this via the distribution of Why Vegan, Vegetarian Living, and the Vegan Starter Pack.

2. Support of positive, healthy veganism; specifically, the presentation of balanced, detailed, and current nutritional information, compiled and frequently updated by Jack Norris, RD, co-founder and President of Vegan Outreach.

One of the purposes of Vegan Spam is to keep interested people up-to-date concerning both these areas.

Currently, Vegan Outreach has over 8,000 members in the US and many other countries. Last year, we sent out over 500,000 copies of Why Vegan and Vegetarian Living; every week, we fill requests for hundreds of copies of our Vegan Starter Packs. With the continued support and efforts of compassionate, dedicated people, we will continue to increase our reach and impact.

For More Information:




The Latest Print Newsletter...

Has recently gone out in the mail. It is also available for downloading.


3rd Leaflet Your Local School Day

Update: Activists have signed up to leaflet 31 colleges and 21 high schools. You can sign up today!

Please note: Give Direct is a new way to donate to Vegan Outreach online to support projects like Leaflet Your Local School Day or donate for other materials. Give Direct allows you to set up automatic monthly or quarterly donations as well. Visit our donation page to learn more.


New Program to Mail Why Vegan? to College Students

Vegan Outreach is conducting an experiment which we hope will bear great fruit. In addition to supplying booklets and sponsoring Leaflet Your Local School Day, we have decided to speed things up by sending a Why Vegan to every student at a particular college. The first college, to be named later, has about 2400 undergraduate students. The entire cost of the project will be $600.

If you would like to sponsor a program like this for a school, please email Jack Norris.


My students and I would like to thank you very much for your very prompt and generous response. Your brochures have had a very sobering effect on all who've had the chance to examine them. Although my purpose is to teach my class how to communicate effectively through the written word, there's no denying the truth of the maxim that a picture says a thousand words.
     Please also accept our gratitude for your very worthwhile endeavors. Hopefully, we'll be able to change some attitudes toward animals in this part of the country.
RM, San Fernando High School, San Fernando, CA, 2/8/03

Email from several members:

Joe Espinosa and Marsha Forsman, Chicago, IL

Here is our January report:

  • 1/4/03 301 copies of Why Vegan on Michigan Avenue
  • 1/4/03 50 copies WV at Vegetarian Express Restaurant
  • 1/6/03 62 copies WV at Chicago Diner Restaurant
  • 1/13/03 75 copies WV at Chicago Diner
  • 1/27/03 80 copies WV at Chicago Diner
  • 1/30/03 50 copies WV at Vegetarian Express
  • 1/31/03 321 copies WV at U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Lori Peterson, Esq., Minneapolis, MN, February 7, 2003

We handed out 2700 pieces of animal rights literature in ONE HOUR tonite in Minneapolis.

"Acquire the Fire" is a Christian music deal that travels the country and you should check their website, as they are coming to a city near you. Thousands of open-minded young people come to hear them everywhere they go.

We ran out of materials and will go back tomorrow night to catch the outgoing crowd. I'm thinking it's better to hit them on their way out, as we got some idiots from the group telling people on their way in to not read it.

Anyway, half of the materials were What Would Jesus Eat … Today? and half were Why Vegan. We were handing them out so fast it was amazing. Busloads of students kept arriving. They were mostly very polite and everyone (almost) wanted a brochure.


February 9, 2003
We handed out about 100 fliers at the Indigo Girls concert tonight and then another 900 at the Acquire the Fire event.

PLEASE consider getting volunteers to ALL of these types of events...very polite crowds... but you'll need plenty of people at each entrance/exit, as the busloads will overwhelm you.


Cholesterol Levels of Vegans

-Jack Norris, RD

Vegan advocates rightly point out that vegans’ cholesterol levels are lower than lacto-ovo vegetarians and non-vegetarians. But how much lower are they?

One can do an Internet search and find many sites listing the cholesterol levels of vegan’s in the U.S. as 128 mg/dl. That is quite low and somewhat surprising based on various studies I had seen over the years. So, I decided to look up all the studies measuring the cholesterol levels of vegans since about 1980.

U.S. Vegans
It turns out that in the 5 studies found since 1980 on U.S. vegans, not one showed them to have an average cholesterol level as low as 128 mg/dl. The lowest average in any study was 135 mg/dl. Additionally, cholesterol was measured in only 135 vegans, which is not a particularly large number and does not support much confidence in characterizing “U.S. vegans” as a whole. The data from all 5 studies showed the following averages:

Number of People
Total Cholesterol (mg/dl)
Lacto-ovo Vegetarian

All Western Vegans
The average cholesterol levels of vegans living in Western countries in 17 studies since 1978, including the U.S. vegans listed above, showed the following:

Number of People
Total Cholesterol (mg/dl)
Lacto-ovo Vegetarian

This is a decent number of vegans and, in my opinion, does provide confidence in being representative of vegans in general. As you can see, vegans averaged a good 40 points below non-vegetarians.

While that definitely is something to write home about, does this mean that vegans have lower rates of heart disease, and they are off the hook? Not so fast...

A lack of attention to vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats may counteract benefits of a vegan diet (see Current State of Vegan Health). At this point, not enough data has been collected to fully understand how all these variables come together. In the meantime, it only takes a little effort to get B12 and increase your omega-3 status, and you can reap the benefits of a vegan diet without suffering any known drawbacks.

Of course, it is possible to eat a vegan diet filled with junk food, hydrogenated oils, and few fruits and vegetables. This sort of vegan diet might not provide the benefits seen in the studies compiled above.

Finally, some people have a strong genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. The College of American Pathologists recommends that people over the age of 20 have their cholesterol levels checked every 5 years.

More details regarding vegan cholesterol levels, triglycerides levels, blood pressure, etc. can be found here.


Every Donation Prevents Suffering

Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals by promoting informed, ethical eating.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Vegan Outreach

POB 30865, Tucson, AZ 85751-0865