Friday, March 22, 2013

Search Terms: Here, Let Me Help You With That

Alright, I'm doing another quick round of "search terms that brought people here from people who clearly weren't looking for what's actually on the site."  I'm a helpful person, so hey, let me help you with that.

Kemetic Orthodox Holidays 2013

This is in-community information that I can't share.  I don't actually get the calendar through email anymore because I am no longer a member of the House of Netjer, but there are two ways I'm aware of to get these holidays.

The first is to simply take their beginner class.  This will grant you the title of Remetj and with that you will get a monthly mailout of the official Kemetic Orthodox holidays, their dates, and often some nice information about them.  I actually--even as a non-Kemetic-Orthodox person--highly recommend this course for anybody who is interested in Kemetic religion.

The second way is to buy the Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook by the religion's founder.  It has a list of official holidays as well as instructions on how to calculate the dates, as they do not strictly align with current calendar dates.  The benefit of the latter is that if you are not Kemetic Orthodox you can orient the calendar based on where you live or on Egypt rather than on Joliet, Illinois.

I believe the book that Tamara Siuda just raised the funds for for will be a more comprehensive way of putting together a Kemetic festival calendar, too.

Pope Francis Bigot/Homophobe/Etc.

This is still the number one force driving people here; people really, really want to know this guy's stance on LGBT issues.  I think my post probably made it pretty clear, but despite being an all-around better choice than most, when it comes to LGBT issues he's just as bigoted as any other higher-up Catholic.  His Wikipedia entry sums it up pretty well, and you can also read my essay on the subject.

Vegan Health Problems

Quite a few people come here I guess looking for information about health problems on a vegan diet.  I don't know if these are vegans looking for help troubleshooting their diet or people who are looking for reasons to justify not being vegan... if you're looking for justifications not to be vegan, just don't be vegan.  Vegans are a very small percentage of the community and they have very little if any power over what you eat.  Calm down, you're fine.

If you're a vegan who is trying to be healthier or starting to have health problems, but you really, really want to stick with veganism, then this is directed toward you.  Some of the biggest health problems you could face on a vegan diet include anemia, B-12 deficiency, allergy/intolerance flares from eating more of certain foods than you're accustomed to, dental problems, and fluctuations in weight (both loss and gain).

I wound up with health problems on a vegan diet that were related to grain consumption and food addiction.  This wound up in the end changing my entire food philosophy... even if I was confident I could be a vegan and be healthy, I wouldn't do it, because philosophically I refuse to believe I should be obligated to remain on a diet that requires supplementation just to avoid dying a grisly death.  There's more to it than that, of course, but that's the gist.

Based on my experience, these are things I would suggest to people who do want to be vegan (or who are lacto/ovo vegetarians and having similar problems):
  • Mind your B-12 and iron levels.  If you wind up with iron deficiency anemia, deal with that (diet and supplements).  A far as B-12, supplement it with either a sublingual lozenge or (if that doesn't work) shots, regardless of whether or not you have a deficiency.  There are no reliable dietary sources.  If you can't handle this, veganism is not for you.  It really disconcerts me that so many vegans are downplaying how much you need B-12... ignoring this vitamin is potentially life-threatening.  Don't do it.
  • Eat fatty foods like avocados, coconut, and olives.  The oils of these are also great (palm oil is also excellent, but has big ethical issues).  It's easy to fall into an irrational fear of fat when you're a vegan.
  • Don't base your diet on soy, grain, or sugar.  Soy is a problem because it's over-used... no, it's not turning men gay or into women, but it's basically the industrial food additive.  Soy sauce, tempeh, tofu, edamame, and other soy products that are relatively unprocessed or fermented are OK, but should be used as an accompaniment to vegetables.  Sugar, in particular, can really fuck up a vegan diet, and there is no dearth of vegan candy and soda to partake in.  The problems dentists have nightmares about that you see in vegan children are at least in some part due to an increase in sugar consumption.  If you begin to gain weight--and don't assume you won't, it's more common than vegans realize--look at your consumption of sugar and flour.
  • Don't eat too many foods that are designed to masquerade as other foods.  This is a piece of advice for every person on a restrictive diet... this has the dual effect of creating a food which isn't that healthy for you and reinforcing the idea that these foods are just so awesome that you can't bear not eating them.  Veggie burgers, for example, exist on a spectrum... some of my favorites were basically oats and veggies smashed together into a patty.  You could pull them apart and recognize most of the ingredients.  Then there are the ones with shit like fake grill marks that are beefish-flavored soy and gluten... again, you can eat these, but don't live off of them.  In particular, dairy substitutes (excluding nut milk) tend to have really sketchy ingredients, I know when I was a vegan Tofutti was loaded with trans fats but that may have changed since then.
  • If you have the problem I did, which is major gastrointestinal cramps, try an elimination diet to see if some type of grain, legume (soy, peanuts, beans), vegetable, or other food is the problem.  It was when I was a vegan I learned that whole grains make my stomach feel like somebody repeatedly punched it.
That's just a few tips, though.  I can only give advice that aligns with my experiences, so if you have a specific issue that you need to deal with, you should Google that issue.

Aspartame Lobbyist

Just as I think the Pope Francis bigotry search cues probably resulted in the right information, there's a chance that you might have come here and found exactly what you were looking for in my essay about aspartame in milk.  But just in case, the main aspartame lobby group that I'm aware of is the Calorie Control Council, which represents the low and reduced calorie food and beverage industry.