NPR’s Special Series “Men in America” Looks At Vegans

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Men in America is a special series from NPR’s show All Things Considered that “…explores what it means to be a man in America today.” I was contacted by producer Neda Ulaby not too long ago because a friend of hers had directed her to The Discerning Brute. Here at TDB we focus a decent amount of energy exploring masculinity and the evolving definition of manhood, especially as it relates to animal protection, social justice and environmental issues. It’s my opinion that mainstream masculinity, which could also be referred to as commercial masculinity (the beer-beef-boobs-and-ball masculinity sold to us via commercials and pop-culture) is a major roadblock to sustainability for its dominance in our political, economic and social culture and its shaming of compassion, thoughtfulness, nurturing and other characteristics that are relegated to the realm of women, the effeminate, and the irrational.

Please take a few minutes to join the conversation by listening to the show and sharing your thoughts in the comments below.

For a more in-depth look at this topic, please visit our other posts – including some video interviews – that explore this very important issue:

Featured in this episode of All Things Considered are:

Joshua Katcher founder/creative dir. of Brave GentleMan & founder/editor of The Discerning Brute.
thediscerningbrute.com
bravegentleman.com
Giacomo Marchese, competitive bodybuilder & founder of Plant-Built
facebook.com/VeganOlympia
Dominick Thompson, Healthcare Executive, triathlete & founder of Iron Brukal
ironbrukal.com/
Daniel Strong, chef & co-owner Chickpea & Olive
chickpeaandolive.com/
Cornell Ward, MMA fighter co-host Walking Alone Podcast
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David Carter: NFL’s Vegan Defensive Lineman

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David Carter is a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders and a competitive powerlifter with Plant Built. He will soon launch his website, The 300 Pound Vegan, and admits “this is a chapter in my life I was never expecting“. That’s not surprising to hear from someone who grew up eating every kind of meat, and lots of it, at his grandfathers barbeque restaurant in LA, and who believed the mythology that if you eat muscle, you become muscle. His recent evolution to veganism, initially sparked by his wife’s same decision, is controversial for a guy who plays professional football and has to stay big and beefy. But he’s more confident than ever that “being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins.” On his forthcoming website, he explains his journey since he went vegan in February of 2014:

Very early on I was taught that if I wanted to be big and strong there was only one way to go about it.  You guessed it—eat meat and the more the better. Every coach, trainer, nutritionist, and doctor all pointed me in the direction of animal products. From protein shakes to weight gainers there was no other alternative, so I did as I was told and followed the standard athlete’s diet regimen.  Whey protein, raw eggs, gallons of milk, and casein were in just about every supplement I took…

The more I learned, the more my body benefited and my results came quickly. More energy, shorter recovery time, increased stamina, improved strength, and the peace of mind that no one had to die in order for me to live.  Every one of my nagging injuries is gone. Tendonitis, inflammation, scar tissue, nerve damage, and chronic muscle fatigue all corrected themselves within months of adopting veganism.

…by making this one small change not only have I saved my own life but the countless lives of voiceless and defenseless animals everywhere. Not to mention veganism is great for our planet as well.  Becoming vegan has given me a greater purpose, something bigger than myself to fight for, and fight I will.

 

Not Just a Haircut: The Reality of Wool

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Just last week I wrote about the wool industry’s greenwashing efforts. Not only does the wool industry take a mind-boggling toll on the environment, but it is shockingly cruel. The mythology of wool is that it’s just a friendly haircut, but nothing could be further from the truth. In a new undercover investigation by PETA, ” …workers killed, beat, stomped on, kicked, mutilated, and threw sheep around as they sheared them in Australia, the world’s top wool exporter, and the U.S.” This should be especially troubling news for “ethical” and “sustainable” designers who continue to use animal products because they are marketed as “natural”.

This should be especially troubling news for “ethical” and “sustainable” designers who continue to use animal products like wool.

You can view the undercover videos below:


The problem isn’t that these workers are being especially cruel, per se. The deeper problem is that this is considered business-as-usual. Beating sheep to get them to stay still while shearing them is standard and accepted practice. Whenever an animal is put into a business production model, exploitation is inevitable and worsens as the demands for their hairs, skins, and flesh increases. The needs of any living creature can not be met when it is believed that their sole purpose is to make the biggest profit at the least expense. And in this case, most workers are paid by volume, not by the hour, so accidents and viciousness are frequent.

Please read the entire investigation here: http://investigations.peta.org/australia-us-wool/

Biohackers Engineer Yeast to Produce Casein for “Real Vegan Cheese”

A team of biohackers in Oakland at the infamous Counter Culture Labs are using their science skills to make real vegan cheese. According to their Indiegogo page:

Real Vegan Cheese is a not a cheese substitute! It all begins with regular old baker’s yeast. Through synthetic biology, we engineer our yeast to become milk-protein factories, churning out real milk proteins (known as caseins). These milk proteins are then combined with water, vegan sugar and oil to make a kind of milk which is ultimately converted into Real Vegan Cheese using the age-old cheese-making process.

“Is it really vegan? Yes. Our genes are made from scratch to work in yeast, and though they are inspired by mammals, none of the genes, organisms or growth mediums we use have ever been part of an animal.”

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For more info and to donate to their research, click here:

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or visit their Indiegogo Page: http://igg.me/at/vegancheese/x

 

Champion Heavyweight Boxer Goes Vegan for Comeback

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He’s got an English accent. He’s buff. And now, he’s vegan too. David Haye “The Hayemaker” recently told The Independent that he’s planning to make a big comeback after some serious injuries, an out-of-control alter-ego, and major surgery. “I’ve only got myself to blame.” He said. “To be as injury-prone as much as me isn’t bad luck. It’s the way I’ve trained in the past.”

Regarding his decision to go vegan, he said:

“I watched a TV documentary about how animals are farmed, killed and prepared for us to eat,” he explains, shaking his head. “I saw all those cows and pigs and realised I couldn’t be a part of it any more. It was horrible. I did some research to make sure I could still obtain enough protein to fight and, once satisfied that I could, I stopped. I’ll never go back.”

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The Discerning Brute contributor and nutritional expert Matt Ruscigno, RD weighs in on Haye’s new regimen and its chances to rebuild a heavyweight champ:

“All plant based foods have some protein, especially beans and grains – and as long as Haye is eating enough calories to fuel his workouts, he will get more than enough protein. Plant-foods like beans are full of calories to provide all the energy he needs, as well as all the amino acids he needs to continue building muscle in order to create and maintain a heavyweight physique. The additional benefit of the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables will aid in his recoveries. Experts know from extensive research that vegetarian and vegans live longer, and many nutrition experts are exploring the idea that the same principles that make us live longer may also help someone like Haye recover more quickly from injuries.”