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Fattie Vegan FAQs

July 3, 2008

I love checking the search engine terms people who have stumbled on my blog used. Some of my favorites include:

“Why is fatties so mean”

“What the fuck is up with protein water”

“Diet rules for smaller lips” – just because HUH? WHA? ???

“Lesbian phone sex with your mom”

There are also some that I’m happy to get. Ones like ‘what to do about under belly itchy rash’ (hydrocortisone worked for me.) Or ‘being healthy without dieting.’ I hope some of what I write can be helpful to people.

But I also get a lot of questions that I would call veganism or fat acceptance 101. These are questions about a lot of the basic philosophy of each movement. “Are people really fatter today.” or “Why don’t vegans eat clams?” I get a lot of questions like these so I thought I’d create a place for people to ask them.

So go ahead. Are you curious as to why vegans don’t drink milk? Or whether or not vegans care about animals killed during plant harvesting? Do you have a question about fat acceptance that you’ve been afraid to ask?

All comment moderation is off for this thread. So feel free to be anonymous. Any obvious trolls and/or spammers will eventually be deleted.

Once I get a few questions I will create separate FAQ posts to answer them which I’ll link to in my sidebar.

Of course, it should go without saying that I do not represent veganism or the fat acceptance movement. If you read a question that you’d like to answer, feel free.

Now, don’t be shy. I know there are people out there with these questions so ask them.

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37 Comments
  1. July 3, 2008 3:42 pm

    Late last year, Ann Coulter made a comment along the lines that Hillary Clinton had fat legs. Yes, this is seriously one of the only insults she could find to hurl at Clinton. So, I blogged about it and to this day, I still get anywhere from 30 – 80 hits a month from people looking for some variation of Hillary Clinton’s legs. I wonder if there exists some sort of Hillary Clinton leg fetish. Stranger things have come before.

  2. KarenElhyam permalink
    July 3, 2008 3:59 pm

    I’ve always wondered about your adorable picture up top. I’m sure you’ve mentioned it, but I am frazzled today, and just don’t have the time to look it up!

    (And yeah, this really had nothing to do with anything, but “Adorable tofu stuffy” is just too cute of a query not to be pursued.)

  3. July 3, 2008 4:24 pm

    It’s a tofu pincushion made by Hannah Kaminsky (she has a fabulous vegan dessert cookbook too.)

    You can see the pattern here http://bittersweetblog.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/tofu-for-you/

  4. Marste permalink
    July 3, 2008 5:08 pm

    Ok, I’ve got one! And it’s probably a relatively naive one, lol.

    I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I’d like to eat less meat. The problem is, my body runs best on a LOT of protein. What can I eat (other than the ubiquitous beans and rice, which taste yucky to me and upset my stomach ) that will help with that? Is tofu pretty high in protein? If so, how on earth do you cook it? (I’ve got ONE good recipe for tofu, but I can only eat it so many times, you know?)

  5. Piffle permalink
    July 3, 2008 5:10 pm

    I hadn’t grokked this was a vegan place, I always thought it was a crocheted cheese. Really good fresh tofu tastes a bit like muenster cheese to me.

    Are more vegans, vegans due to moral qualms or vegans for health reasons? Are there other reasons for veganism that I don’t know about?

  6. nuckingfutz permalink
    July 3, 2008 5:16 pm

    Piffle, *I* thought it was knitted butter! (Which, you know, kinda ties in with the blog title.)

  7. July 3, 2008 5:22 pm

    Marste, as a fellow meat-eater who is actually very fond of tofu as well, I’d like to take a bit of a stab at your question.

    Tofu, being made of soy, is an excellent source of protien. It’s also amazingly versatile. You can bake it, stir fry it, deep fry it, cook it on its own or with other ingredients, marinate it first, toss it in a salad…there are a million things you can do with it.

    If you’re not sure what to do with it, check out what I found when I searched Amazon.com for ‘Tofu’ under cookbooks:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=node%3D1000%2C6&field-keywords=Tofu&x=4&y=16

    I recommend starting by reading the customer reviews of a few of these books and picking a likely-sounding one.

    Best of luck! I don’t know about how you’ll feel, but I love cooking with tofu.

  8. July 3, 2008 5:35 pm

    Marste, the grains quinoa (“keen-wa”) and amaranth are also quite high in protein, and very tasty. I loves them, I do. You can use them like couscous or rice, or even like oatmeal. If you want the “bite” of meat, that certain chewiness, textured soy protein is a good substitute too. It comes in everthign from tiny chunks to muggets, and I’ve made chili with it that’s fooled omnivores. (It helps to give the TSP a little soak in some vegan chicken-style or beef-style stock or broth first.)

  9. July 3, 2008 5:37 pm

    Well, that comment was typo city. Sorry! That should be “nuggets”, not “muggets”, which sounds like some kind of food made out of muppets. (Eek!)

  10. RoseCampion permalink
    July 3, 2008 5:55 pm

    Also, both seitan and tempeh are full of protein and very tasty.

    I loves me a slab of tempeh, panfried and served on crusty toasted whole wheat bread, with barbeque sauce.

  11. July 3, 2008 6:17 pm

    In response to Piffle, I can’t speak for vegans, but my top reasons for not eating animals (except for fish) are (1) the massive energy resources that go into commercial meat production, and (2) the nasty waste products that come out of it. I recognize that I as an American still use up a lot of resources and produce a lot of waste, but cutting out meat is one way that I try to minimize my ‘footprint’. I read somewhere that going vegetarian does more to minimize your energy consumption than replacing your car with a hybrid.

  12. July 3, 2008 8:07 pm

    La Di Da, I’d like some Muppet Muggets, please. Hee!

    Some typos are just more fun than others.

  13. pennylane permalink
    July 3, 2008 8:12 pm

    Why are vegans so meeeeeeeeeeeeeean? I kid.

    Marste–I eat a very high protein diet because I weight train and in addition to seitan and tempeh which are both great and easy to cook there are also a lot of meat and dairy substitutes that are a LOT better than they were when I first became a vegan–Morningstar farms has a great line of products (some vegan, some not) and Boca. But also check out any Asian groceries in your area–they often have really good meat substitutes. Ours carries mock duck, mock ham, mock chicken, etc. and they’re really good. And vegan yogurt is really good. I can’t tolerate the vegan cheeses (though Better Than Cream Cheese is good).

    Good question Piffle! I would say partially health, partially environmental reasons, and many moral reasons. I’m fortunate enough to not have to eat animal products so I don’t.

    I’m really interested in the questions you get! I was also curious how often you get grilled about your veganism by people around you.

  14. July 3, 2008 8:19 pm

    Marste: If you like Indian food, look for paneer recipes. Tofu cubes are a perfect vegan substitute for paneer, and tastes quite similar. You can also pretty much substitute tofu for chicken in any recipe and it works very well.

  15. July 3, 2008 9:00 pm

    Marste,

    Lots of other people had really good suggestions so I’ll just add that tofu can be used in a lot of desserts (mousse, pudding, even ‘cream’ in cupcakes.) It can also be used to make sauces – alfredos, stroganoffs and such.

    Also it’s always great to experiment and see exactly what it is you’re body really likes. Would your body like lighter products that have a lot of amino acids like nutritional yeasts and liquid aminos or is it craving something heavier that keeps you on an even keel like tofu, tempeh etc…?

    Something like Isa’s scrambled tofu with liquid aminos and nutritional yeast might be a great thing for you to try. It’s dense and protein-filled and also has added amino acids.

    http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=110

  16. July 3, 2008 9:15 pm

    Piffle,

    Most vegans I know went vegan for ethical reasons although, as Mary and Pennylane said, environmental considerations are also often a consideration.

    However, even among ethical vegans, there’s a lot of disagreement about the details (of course!) and one can be vegan for personal ethical reasons, but not be a part of the wider animal rights movement.

    I have known a few people who don’t eat animal products for health reasons, but otherwise they don’t have a problem with animal products (leather, down, wool etc…) and so aren’t really vegan.

  17. July 3, 2008 10:33 pm

    This isn’t really a question about veganism, but I think a vegan might be able to answer it.

    What’s the deal about soy? Is it good for you, or bad for you? Is too much soy dangerous? I love me some tofu, and I could eat it every day, but I’ve read some scare stories about soy, and have no idea how to evaluate them. I’m assuming that vegans eat more soy products than the average person, so you might have a better sense of the low-down on soy.

  18. July 3, 2008 11:06 pm

    Aw geez, lori, you have to be careful asking a question like that you’ll bring some kind of PCRM/Weston A. Price war to this blog. :p

    Honestly, I think soy is safe. Especially when people stick to the forms that have been around for millenia (tofu, tempeh, soymilk and edamame.) A lot of bad effects I’ve seen linked to soy have been to huge amounts of things like soy protein isolate.

    Like a lot of things, moderation doesn’t hurt if you’re cautious or if you’re taking some kind of medication (like I think something for hypothyroidism) that might be negatively affected by soy.

  19. RoseCampion permalink
    July 3, 2008 11:17 pm

    The biggest issues with soy that I’ve heard about is that most commerically produced soybeans these days are GMO, that it’s nearly impossible to find soy that isn’t GMO, unless you’re buying organic. Also, soy has phyto estrogen in it and a substance that’s kind of like thyroid hormones, which can cause problems in some people.

    This seemed a relatively well balanced page about it.

    http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/articles/soynorris

    For myself, I feel kind of yucky when I eat a lot of highly processed soy, like protein shakes and that sort of thing. So, when I do eat soy, I like to stick with minimally and traditionally processed soy. Things like tofu. Tempeh. Fermented soy products like miso and tamari. I’m not big on the processed products like fake meats.

    Fwiw, I’m not veg. I’m an omnivore trying to limit my animal product consumption for ecological and ethical reasons. Not quite ready to give up animal based food just yet, but I’ve cut out quite a bit of it out of my diet. I’m not sure I could ever be vegan though. The siren song of cheese is just too hard to resist. But I could see becoming ovo-lacto sometime soon.

  20. Godless Heathen permalink
    July 3, 2008 11:20 pm

    Oooh, thank you for the knitting pattern link! I’d been wondering too.

  21. July 4, 2008 12:13 am

    The other thing about soy products is the issue with phytoestrogens. Some people contend that it’s the cause of PCOS and even homosexuality (yes, seriously. I *refuse* to link to that amazing logic-free 5 page rant). In case you’re wondering, the answer to why Asians are largely unaffected is apparently that we don’t eat as much soy products as health nuts in the West. My reply is WANNA BET?! *ahem*

    But yeah, google it up if you want to see discussions (unfortunately rarely rational) about phytoestrogens in soy.

  22. July 4, 2008 2:42 am

    Neat idea. I’ve always been wary of veganism because I just can’t imagine living without cheese, eggs and butter. It doesn’t seem natural, no matter what anyone says. Sometimes I wish I could handle going vegetarian, though, but here’s the thing: I’m allergic to soy. Is it even possible for me??

  23. Anonymous permalink
    July 4, 2008 11:20 am

    I just stumbled on this blog, and just have to say…yay a fat acceptance vegan!
    Seems like too many vegans are so anti fat and I dont get it…like, ok you can accept that maybe were not being told the truth about the health of milk and meat, but you refuse to consider that fat can be healthy. I guess I just see most vegans as being pretty open minded, except when it comes to fat, and its so frustrating.

    For questions you could address, how about the ‘I thought all vegans are thin’, what do vegans eat versus not eat. difference between vegan and vegetarian, can you eat fish or honey and be veg etc…

    Giving up dairy and eggs is easier than it seems at first. As long as you learn to cook good vegan meals, taste and nutrition wise, after a few weeks you probably wont even miss them. Ive heard your body actually becomes addicted to things like dairy ( is that true..?) so after awhile with none of it in your system, you feel better and no longer desire it.
    Its completely possible to be a healthy vegan and avoid soy or gluten or any number of things.

    Ok, I kinda rambled…but Im just happy to have found this blog.

  24. July 4, 2008 11:23 am

    Oh god, the soy – gay connection! Hilarious. Sometimes I wonder if the fear of phytoestrogen is, sometimes, connected to general misogyny. Especially considering how many men I know won’t eat soy because of that fear of phytoestrogens. Like, hey, you already have estrogen in your body *and* there are a ton of chemical estrogens floating around our environment that enter your body and they haven’t made you gay or shrunk your junk yet.

    I read an article somewhere that basically said that all soy products were “poisons.” I don’t know why some people have such a problem with it – it’s almost pathological.

  25. funnie permalink
    July 4, 2008 11:26 am

    1. WTF, “bovine secretion” in the protein water post?! I don’t want to look it up, the phrase scares me. Is this the usual energy-drink-additive thing, or are they adding animal protein to water too?! WTF IS up with protein water?! For that matter, WTF is up with energy drinks?! Unbelievably foul concept.

    2. When are you gonna blog about Opraaaaaaaaaaah?

    3. Of what does nutritional yeast actually consist? I’ve used it (Grit Yeast Gravy!) on several occasions, but it weirds me out. The name, the texture, the smell, the concept. And: is it dead? Or am I offering to colonize myself?

    4. Now that you’ve been at this a while, how much time per day/week do you spend shopping, prepping, cooking, etc. while still eating optimally (having nutritious foods available when you’re hungry with enough fun stuff mixed in to not get bored)? And if you do not mind saying, how much do you tend to spend?

  26. funnie permalink
    July 4, 2008 11:32 am

    5. And! what do you eat when you’re stranded and starving? Like, if someone plops you in a new place where you know of no grocery stores and you didn’t pack a lunch, and you need to eat something RIGHT NOW. What do you look for? (this happens to me a lot. not the new-place part, but the being away from my food-stores longer than I thought I would be part. and I have not yet come up with satisfactory answers, and on several occasions think how much harder it would be if I were vegan.)

  27. July 4, 2008 11:50 am

    Chickpeas are also an excellent source of protein. Hummus is amazing, obviously, but there also some other great chickpea-centered dishes. I sometimes make a big pot of chickpeas, spinach, onions, and saute it with spices, then bring it with me to work all week.

    I think if you want to try going vegan or vegetarian, your best bet is to start by just trying to incorporate more vegan and vegetarian meals into your diets. You need to have things you love to eat to replace what you’re getting rid of – otherwise you’ll just be miserable. And that’s never a good thing.

    Eating out, though, is a hundred times harder than switching what you cook in your home. I have no problem eating vegetarian out, but I’ve lived in very liberal, urban areas. Even there, I’ve seen vegans having a hard time finding anything on the menu.

  28. July 4, 2008 11:29 pm

    Tiana,

    I know a couple of veg*ns who are allergic to soy and they seem to get along fine. Really, the only sticking point for me would be coffee which I drink a fair amount of and always with soymilk. Otherwise I don’t use soy much.

    I think it would be harder to buy a lot of conveniece foods though.

  29. July 5, 2008 12:00 am

    *waves @ funnie*

    1) Ha! I believe that was a reference to whey which is what puts the protein in protein water. In general, vegans don’t like to use words/phrases which erase the animal-origins of food products. I’m generally happy to just say ‘cow’s milk’, but others are more creative.

    2) As soon as I can do her justice.

    3) It’s inactive so you are safe from colonization. All I really know about it is that it’s grown on enriched molasses and that I used to think it smelled a bit cheesy until someone told me it smelled like feet and now that’s all I smell when I open a container. Still, smells better than the green jars of parmesan.

  30. emmy permalink
    July 5, 2008 9:11 am

    Did you ever try that vegan lemon curd recipe from many posts back? I had a craving for it a few days ago, and remembered I had shared it with you, and wondered what you thought.

    I’ve really been enjoying your blog. I’m fat, but not a vegan. I guess I’m what I think they’re calling “flexitarian.” I eat primarily lacto-ovo and sometimes vegan meals, but will have some fish or chicken a few times a week, and maybe other meats occasionally. I admit it’s not exactly a hard core principled stand, but reducing your meat intake does more than you might think to reduce your environmental impact.

  31. July 6, 2008 1:29 pm

    Emmy, I think your flexitarianism *is* principled — the principle is “eat less meat” and it’s a good one, IMO. I hate how some people try to make you feel like a terrible person for ever consuming anything animal-related (I’m not referring to any of the vegans who’ve commented on this post — I think everyone has been very nice and respectful here). VegNews Magazine is the worst in this regard — they liken flexitarians to a man who says, “I’m mostly faithful to my wife, but I occasionally pay a prostitute for sex.” VegNews also happens to be extremely anti-fat, but I’ll refrain from ranting about that now.

    On the subject of soy, in addition to what Joie mentioned, apparently it also exacerbates endometriosis (this might relate to phytoestrogens, but I don’t know the science behind it). I think it would be really tough to go vegetarian, let alone vegan, if you couldn’t eat soy. That’s another reason I don’t judge people who aren’t vegetarian (in addition to the fact that I occasionally pay a prostitute — er, eat meat — myself).

  32. pennylane permalink
    July 6, 2008 3:10 pm

    Mary–ha! I’m a vegan but I feed my dogs meat. What does that make me? A pimp?

    I think the response to soy is widely variant (as with a lot of foods like wheat gluten). I have heard the thyroid thing but I’ve also heard that taking or eating kelp can help.

    I’d be curious to hear how other vegans became vegans. Did you go cold turkey (er, tofurkey?)? I gave up cheese first because it was my favorite and then slowly eliminated other dairy products (I’ve been vegetarian for a really long time).

  33. July 7, 2008 9:09 am

    funnie questions cont…

    4)I’m not sure how much I spend on groceries these days since I share shopping with other adults. I’m guessing it’s about $150/week for a family of four. When I lived in Atlanta, I was spending about $45/week on groceries, but I was buying almost all organic at the time.

    I really like cooking so I probably spend a lot more time than I have to in the kitchen, but otherwise my shopping/prep time is pretty minimal. My big thing is that I wash and/or cut any veggies as soon as I get back from the store. So when I’m tired or busy I already have a lot of the work done if I just want to throw some veggies in a stirfry or if I want some carrot sticks with hummus or something. I do the same thing with cutting and freezing fruit for smoothies.

    5) It doesn’t happen me a lot, but I will keep a lara bar or something in my purse if I’m going somewhere where I don’t know what the food situation is like. I also have a pretty good idea of which big chain food places have stuff I can eat so I keep an eye out for those.

  34. July 7, 2008 9:16 am

    anonymous, I hear you about vegans being, for the most part, really closed-minded about fat acceptance. It’s enormously frustrating especially when vegans insist that veganism would ‘cure’ most obesity in the west despite all the vegans who happily exist on the fat spectrum.

  35. July 7, 2008 9:20 am

    emmy,

    yeah! It was pretty tasty, but I definitely had a bit of tofu aftertaste – although I might have just been spreading it super thick. Also, I can almost always taste tofu in recipes even when other people insist it’s totally hidden by other flavors so I would go ahead and give it a try.

  36. anon permalink
    July 16, 2008 3:48 pm

    Question from a fatosphere lurker who identifies as fat-positive. If a person is fit and still fat, is it harder to move around and does it take more effort to do every day things because of the weight? If the person could magically weigh less (or went on a yo-yo diet and lost a significant amount of weight), would they notice it taking less effort to get about and get active?

  37. July 18, 2008 6:45 am

    I don’t have a question (yet!), but wanted to comment on people having to avoid soy due to allergy. If you don’t have a nut allergy as well, almond milk is a tasty alternative to soy milk. I use it in my coffee with a little stevia.

    Pacific brand makes a variety of non-dairy milks that don’t use soy – oat, hazelnut, rice, and almond.

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