Q&A! Re: email questions

I’ve not been active on this blog for a while. I’ve been trying out other blog platforms and blogging styles, adjusting to life with a toddler, renovating, doing all sorts of things… but the comments have kept coming in, and so have the questions! Some of them more than once, so…

What is the “shell grit-free birdseed mix” you use in rat food composed of?

I used to use commercial birdseed, but after hearing a first-hand account of insecticide being dumped all over birdseed, I switched to human grade nuts and seeds! The majority of the seed mix was sunflower seeds – a favourite among rats. I also included pumpkin seeds, buckwheat crispies (sprouted dehydrated groats)… among other things. I haven’t had any rat companions for a few years now, so I can’t be more specific, sorry! (Read my old rat-related posts here.) You’ll be pleased to know my last rattie companion – a little silvered-black girl – lived to the ripe old age of 5! Rather ancient in rat terms.

Where are you moving this blog to when it goes to its own domain?

That’s an easy one: veganza.com !

What’s the difference between vegetarian and vegan and gluten-free and raw?

Odd that I still get this regularly, despite the FAQs here and around the interweb…

Vegetarianism is a diet. Vegetarians abstain from eating animal flesh, but not necessarily excretions (milk, eggs, honey – ie. lacto-ova vegetarians).

Veganism is NOT a diet. Vegans are “pure vegetarians” who don’t eat anything that comes from an animal, whether flesh or excretion. Vegans also don’t consume any non-food items that contain animal products, eg. they don’t wear leather or wool, or use cosmetics containing animal-derived ingredients, eg. animal-derived glycerin, lanolin, or beeswax. Vegans avoid all animal products insofar as possible. Veganism is an ethical position based on a philosophy of non-violence towards all sentient beings.

Gluten-free is a diet where adherents do not eat foods containing gluten, usually due to allergies or an intolerance, but occasionally due to other reasons, such as avoiding supporting vast monoculture (an ethical and/or ecological reason) or a general avoidance of eating grains (health reasons).

Raw is a diet where adherents do not cook their food, and eat only fresh fruit and vegetables, and unprocessed raw seeds and nuts, and often sprouted grains, grasses, and legumes as well. Most adherents seem to be vegan, however some raw foodists are not vegan and do consume animal products. People usually go raw for health reasons, although ecological reasons are also often cited. People who eat mostly raw food (generally meaning a raw intake greater than 51% (although some say >75% or >80%) – usually measured by caloric intake rather than weight) may call themselves “High Raw” – this usually simply indicates a wholefood vegan diet free of processed (and often fried) food. Many people find an increase in raw food aids digestion, and can be beneficial to those suffering digestive/nutrient absorption complaints. Raw foodists tend towards consuming primarily organic food as well.

Someone who eats fish is an omnivore. Fish is not a vegetable! Occasionally people use the term pescetarian, while many bored vegans prefer the term pesky-tarian or fish-n-chip-ocrite. icon wink Q&A! Re: email questions

See an interesting post on “watering down” the term “veganism” here.

How do I get more iron in my diet?

I always find this an odd one, as most of my vegan friends have high iron levels… Less processed foods and more whole foods might be the key. My top 5 tips are:

  1. Eat more beans and greens. Don’t forget to include some seeds and nuts in your diet for variety and extra minerals. Pumpkin seeds/pepitas are great.
  2. Swap white rice for quinoa or brown rice.
  3. Make your own bread from high-quality flours instead of buying breads full of fillers/refined white flour (saves money, too! and baking is fun!), or buy from an organic/fancy bakery that doesn’t compromise on quality.
  4. Have an adequate intake of vitamin C intake to ensure mineral uptake (but remember that vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, and iron is an oxidant! So don’t overdo it). As well as being yummy, goji berries are a good source of vitamin C and contain iron (and are a “complete” protein food). Apricots are nifty, too.
  5. Most importantly – IMHO – is to have greens at EVERY meal. It’s seriously good for you in so many ways. Add greens to cooked savoury breakfasts, or have green smoothies, which can be seriously tasty and satisfying.

While we’re on the subject of minerals, calcium uptake in vegans is usually pretty good, but retention is much higher than in non-vegans. Good calcium sources include most of those things I’ve mentioned above, particularly greens, but also: figs, broccoli, sesame seeds/tahini, cooked spinach, collard greens, spicy greens (eg. mustard), blackstrap molasses, calcium-set tofu, fortified plant milks, various algae/seagreens, and green juice is nifty, too.

And there’s always supplements. Check out Vegan Essentials, Cruelty-free Shop, or Green Edge Online.

Are you still vegan? Are your children vegan? Are your pets vegan? Is your family vegan? Are your friends vegan? Are… ETC!! icon wink Q&A! Re: email questions

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, my household is vegan. Some of my friends are vegan, but not all of them. Some of my acquaintances In Real Life and on the interweb are vegan, but not all of them. We vegans all tend to gravitate towards the same websites, fora, restaurants, and festivals, and run into each other! Vegans tend to “collect” other vegans. It’s a common hobby. Like obsessive label-reading.

I prefer to eat a high raw diet as well, although I don’t always adhere to this… especially since I broke my spiraliser! Oops.

When is your 2nd baby due? What’s the gender?

June 25th. XY.

icon smile Q&A! Re: email questions

How can I contact you for some reason or another? Or can I ask you something else? Can you help me go vegan or help me with some other vegan-related (or gluten-free vegan-related!) problem?

Twitter: @veganza

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Facebook: Veganza

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