|Enewsletter • July 28, 2004|
News from Vegan Outreach
Thoughts on AR2004 Conference: Please Take B12!
-Jack Norris, RD
It was great to see so many Vegan Outreach volunteers at AR2004! It seemed like the movement as a whole is embracing the idea of putting more of a focus on farmed animals, as well as spreading veganism through targeting students. I also found that the movement is moving away from a focus on trying to be “99.9% vegan,” and more on using our time and energy to get people to stop eating drumsticks and pork chops.
As many Vegan Outreach members might know, I have obtained a reputation of being focused on getting vegans to take vitamin B12. I would have thought by now that most vegans – especially those involved in animal activism / who attend conferences – would understand the importance of taking B12 on a consistent basis. At the AR2003 Los Angeles conference, I even gave a plenary on the importance of taking B12.
That is why it frightens me to have to say: many vegans still do not understand the importance of taking B12!
I was shocked to realize this. So, let me try to impart the importance of taking B12 now:
The first sign of long-term B12 deficiency can be a heart attack or stroke!
There are two types of B12 deficiency:
1. Acute -- when your B12 levels sink to immediately dangerous levels and you start to have tingling in your feet and hands and/or lose function of your limbs and other body parts. This sort of deficiency is easy to detect and can often be reversed by taking large amounts of B12 as soon as the symptoms appear.
2. Mild and long term -- Any vegan who does not have a reliable source of vitamin B12 probably has elevated homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a byproduct of amino acid metabolism. It is also a nerve and vessel toxin and the body requires B12 to turn homocysteine into less harmful molecules. Years of elevated homocysteine can lead to enough blood vessel damage that a stroke or heart attack can occur.
You will not know your homocysteine levels are high unless you have them tested. (To see if you should have your B12 or homocysteine levels checked, see this page.)
You can feel great while still having elevated homocysteine levels. Vegans who daily eat vitamin B12 fortified foods or take supplements have ideal levels of homocysteine.
Just to emphasize this point, this new article was waiting for me when I got back from the conference: "Widespread deficiency of Vitamin-B12 among vegetarians is leading to a growing incidence of stroke and heart attacks among young people, warn doctors."
So, please, get a regular supply of B12, and tell other vegans to do the same. We absolutely owe it to the animals to be as healthy as we can possibly be!
My recommendations for attaining an ideal B12 level can be found here:
More information on B12 and homocysteine can be found here:
Notes from All Over
By Peter Singer and Karen Dawn
"The sickening images echo the snapshots and videotapes that found their way out of another inhumane facility: Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq."
Voting and the Animals
"We tend to think of national elections as remote affairs, immune to the influence of an individual vote. But consider: the 2000 presidential election was decided by a mere 537 votes -- that was the margin of victory in the decisive Florida election. The final margin in New Mexico was a mere 366 votes.
"The 2004 presidential race is shaping up to be just as close--and just as critical. Each and every vote will be vital in determining the course this nation follows in the future.
"The Student Animal Rights Alliance has partnered with Working Assets to register voters for the 2004 election. Just go defendanimals.org/vote. There you can register to vote or change your registration address. Just fill out the form, print and mail. It’s easy and quick. If you’re already registered, please forward the link to friends and family."
Ellen Green Endorses New Booklet
Last semester's #9 leafleter for the AAC program (seen here leafleting at Carnegie Mellon), has decided to take Viva!USA's new "A Matter of Life and Death" (pdf) to her gradeschool, instead of Why Vegan? Designed for 10-14 year-olds, you can contact Viva to order copies.
From Our Members
I always knew that this stuff about animals
dying cruelly happened, but I just kind of pushed
it to the back of my mind and it didn't really
matter to me. Now that I've seen pictures and
read more about it, I have decided veganism
is the right choice for me.
I want to tell you that I am having much success
in handing out these pamphlets to patients....
I was wondering if any effort has been made
to put these brochures in waiting rooms of medical
offices or other offices where people are bored
out of their minds and worried about their health.
People often spend 30-45 minutes or longer looking
for something to read.