Marin Vegetarian Education Group
June, 2016

Happy summer! Even though the official season starts in three weeks, where I grew up in New York, Memorial Day began the season in which it was okay to wear white shoes, and when people who drank switched from Bloody Marys to Gin and Tonics. I laugh to remember what seemed important all those decades ago!  There is more news about drinking below.

 I wish you a beautiful and rewarding summer, regardless of whatever color shoes you wear or whatever summer drink you prefer. (I tend toward watermelon or cantaloupe liquified in the blender, with just a splash of water to get it going.)

Climbing Mt. Everest is Dangerous

Virginia Messina, The Vegan RD, wrote an important, timely article about the vegan climber who died climbing Mt. Everest.  You can sign up to receive her wonderful bulletins at Here's the climbing story in full:

Last week, a vegan named Kuntal Joisher successfully reached the summit of Mt Everest and came home to post photos to his Instagram account. Chances are, you didn’t hear much, if anything, about him. No doubt, though, you heard about another vegan climber, one who died while attempting to climb the tallest mountain in the world.

Of the nearly 1,000 internet articles generated by this story, some overtly questioned the safety of a vegan diet for climbers. By noting that she was a vegan in the headlines, every single one of the articles implied that this was somehow a relevant fact related to Dr. Maria Strydom’s death.

Dr. Strydom wasn’t some irresponsible dilettante when it came to big mountains. She was an experienced climber who had already summited Denali, Mount Ararat, and Kilimanjaro, among other peaks. It’s hard to imagine that she headed into this adventure poorly prepared and without making sure that her health was in good shape. That hasn’t stopped journalists and doctors and dietitians from questioning her diet.

A spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association told the BBC that consequences of a poor vegan diet would be increased fatigue due to lower iron levels, weaker muscles because of lower amino acid intake, and the risk of fractures from poor calcium intake.

Yes, those all could be consequences of a poor vegan diet. And guess what? They would be consequences of a poor omnivore diet as well. It’s not like iron deficiency anemia and osteoporosis are rarities among the general population. And are we really supposed to believe that someone who made it to Everest Base Camp and had already climbed Kilimanjaro had weak muscles?

If Dr. Strydom knew the basics of vegan nutrition and sports nutrition, there is no reason to think that she was any less prepared to climb Mt Everest than anyone else. A lot of people die in the extreme climates on these mountains, and most of them are smart athletes in excellent shape. It is unfair to single out one vegan climber and try to second guess why she died and to assume that her diet had something to do with it.

The truth is that a vegan diet is safe. Climbing Mt. Everest is dangerous.

As always we can (eventually) put an end to these click-bait stories by assuring health professionals and the media that vegans know how to eat healthfully. That means embracing the science that allows us to do that even when recommendations aren’t especially popular. Yes, vegans need to take supplements (or eat fortified foods.) Yes, vegans need to pay attention to protein. As long as we embrace evidence-based nutrition, share it, and practice it, it will get harder and harder for detractors to say that our dietary choices are unsafe.

Vegan Alcohol In the News
Bailey's Irish Cream has always been made with dairy cream (50%) and Irish whiskey. Now they have introduced a rice milk version called Bailey's Almande Almond Milk Liqueur.  The company suggests freezing coffee in an ice cube tray and dropping some into a glass of the Almande Liqueur. While I'm not a big fan of drinking spirits, I do find it interesting that even a long established liquor company is jumping on the vegan bandwagon. And of course, they distance themselves in this article by saying it's not just for vegans; they are targeting lactose intolerant drinkers as well.   Read more at

Spiritual But Not Vegan? Not For Long!
Victoria Moran of Main Street Vegan shared exciting news about an important new film that is being produced to bring more people into vegan living.  Her message is below, as I received it.  Information is included on how you can help support this project. I hope you will!

A Spirited Documentary & I'm on YouTube!
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Main Street Vegan

The Compassion Project is an in-the-works documentary film designed to encourage the 80% of humanity who identify as either "religious" or "spiritual" to expand the love and compassion already at the heart of their faith, outward to encompass all life. In other words, this beautiful film invites people of all spiritual paths to explore veganism, via an introduction from someone of their own faith tradition. 

The filmmaker, Thomas Jackson, whose very first film won a Student Academy Award, is a committed ethical vegan who was inspired to make this documentary when he saw the obvious disconnect that exists when people who are dedicated to making peace and expressing love only take that as far as our species, plus perhaps companion animals and certain wildlife. Why not all life? It's possible, and because it is, I am honored to be producer for this important and powerful film.

Already we have interviewees lined up for the film representing Christianity (Catholic and Protestant), Judaism, Islam, Buddhism (Zen and Theravada), Jainism, Native American spirituality, and the large group of people who are "not religious but spiritual." Among the vegan and animal rights people, who have agreed to participate are:
  • Will Tuttle, Ph.D, of The World Peace Diet
  • Bob Isaacson of Dharma Voices for Animals
  • Bruce Friedrich, of The Good Food Institute and New Crop Capital
  • Milton Mills, MD, internist and Seventh Day Adventist
  • Lisa Levinson, In Defense of Animals and Vegan Spirituality
  • Linda G. Fisher, tribal member of the Ojibway Nation and animal behaviorist
  • Frank L. Hoffman,, retired pastor
  • Richard Schwartz, Jewish Vegetarians of North America
  • Imam Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University chaplain and Time Magazine contributor
  • Pramoda Chitrabanhu, spiritual teacher and author in the Jain tradition
The crowd-funding campaign to raise the needed funds to complete and edit the film went up today at All contributions are received with great appreciation and will be used with great care. (The gifts are pretty cool too!)

If you have questions about the project, please send those to me and I'll route them to Mr. Jackson. Thanks so much for taking a look at this. "Likes" on Facebook -- -- and follows on Twitter -- are also appreciated.

Thank you, bless you, and may good karma grow up all around you --

PS -- On another matter: I'm on YouTube! Yep, it's never too late to take to TV, especially these days. My channel is, and thanks to the artistry of NYU student and Main Street Vegan Academy graduate, Rindala Alajaji, and the tech expertise of musician and podcaster Michael Harren, we're up and running. Thanks for taking a look, and if you subscribe, well, I'll be grateful and do an even better job!
Be sure to listen to the Main Street Vegan Podcast. To stay connected, follow us on Twitter at @Victoria_Moran, on Facebook at Main Street Vegan, and on Instagram at @mainstreetvegan
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As always, be sure to look at  and  to find out what's happening in the coming weeks. Also, check out Compassionate Living in Sonoma County. Their web site is   And The San Francisco Veg Society at www. also has events that might lure you over the bridge.  


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