DIVE DRY WITH DR. BILL #899: KEEPING THE KIDS CLOSE BY

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Esprise Me

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From what I have read in the past humans need certain B vitamins that don't exist in plants so they need to take vitamin supplements in order to be healthy. Well, the supplements are made from animals so that tells me we are omnivores, not vegetarians.
I believe you're thinking of B12, which is actually made by microbes in the soil, not animals. Herbivores have these microbes in their guts, and carnivores get their B12 by eating herbivores, but supplement manufacturers bypass the animals and cultivate the microbe in the lab.

Interestingly, humans also have these microbes in our bodies, but they're apparently too far down the digestive tract to be of use. This suggests we may at one time have been capable of surviving on a vegan diet without supplements, but that our bodies changed once we were able to reliably get meat. (The appendix is also thought to have played a role in digestion when we ate more plants.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics' position is that well-planned vegan diets are appropriate for all stages of life. I'm not vegan myself because I'm not willing to deprive myself of the pleasure and convenience of consuming animal products entirely, but I do generally go for a vegetarian/vegan option if one is available. I don't preach to people about what they should be eating, but I will correct people who misstate the facts as I believe people (including those who are listening) have the right to be able to make an informed choice.
 

drbill

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Appreciate the feedback
 

JamesBon92007

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I believe you're thinking of B12, which is actually made by microbes in the soil, not animals. Herbivores have these microbes in their guts, and carnivores get their B12 by eating herbivores, but supplement manufacturers bypass the animals and cultivate the microbe in the lab.

Interestingly, humans also have these microbes in our bodies, but they're apparently too far down the digestive tract to be of use. This suggests we may at one time have been capable of surviving on a vegan diet without supplements, but that our bodies changed once we were able to reliably get meat. (The appendix is also thought to have played a role in digestion when we ate more plants.)
.

I am pleased to know that the manufacturers have found a way to avoid making the supplements from animals, which I suspect may be a relief to some vegetarians. I do not, however, quite understand why so many food manufacturers go through so much trouble to make beans or soy look like meat if the people who are presumably buying the products don't want to eat meat.
 

Esprise Me

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It's a fair question. Many vegetarians I've known don't care for mock meats, but some do. I personally don't have strong feelings on the subject either way; there are some fake meats I like and some I don't. I think tofu can stand in for chicken in almost any dish; they're both just flavorless sponges to absorb the broth or spices you cook them in. Come at me, chicken defenders. ;-)

But on the subject of the OP, no way would I deprive my cat of what he needs to survive. If the premise of your vegetarian (or flexatarian in my case) diet is opposition to animal cruelty, it's a lot harder in my mind to justify starving your cat than it is to justify feeding him offal from the animals already being killed for breasts, wings, or what have you. I think PETA reconciles this by saying no one should have pets in the first place, but I don't put much stock in their opinions.
 

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As a curious biologist, one thing I've often wondered about is this. Go ahead, write it Dr. Bill. I sincerely wonder if any of the vegans or vegetarians who read my columns feed their dogs or cats a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Both GF and I are vegan. She had a cat with feline leukemia and he was generally always sick. As a last ditch effort to help the cat, with the vets approval, started feeding him a vegan diet of prepared commercial vegan cat food, and the cat stopped getting sick and went on to live pretty healthy life for the next 7 years or so despite having FelV. I know plenty of vegans that feed their dogs vegan. They typically use commercially prepared vegan dog food v-dog, as it meets all guidelines for adult dog nutrition per AAFCO standards.

I am pleased to know that the manufacturers have found a way to avoid making the supplements from animals, which I suspect may be a relief to some vegetarians. .

B12 supplements stopped being made from animals in the 1960s. That way was invented in 1959. :)

I do not, however, quite understand why so many food manufacturers go through so much trouble to make beans or soy look like meat if the people who are presumably buying the products don't want to eat meat

To appeal to people who do want to eat meat. Or, to people who like the taste but don't like the fact that animals need to be killed or don't like that fact that animal agriculture is raping the planet.
 

JamesBon92007

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B12 supplements stopped being made from animals in the 1960s. That way was invented in 1959. :)

Now you have me wondering just where I read pre-1959 info. It's true that I have been going online since before there was any internet, but certainly not as far back as '59 :wink:
 

JamesBon92007

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It's a fair question. Many vegetarians I've known don't care for mock meats, but some do. I personally don't have strong feelings on the subject either way; there are some fake meats I like and some I don't. I think tofu can stand in for chicken in almost any dish; they're both just flavorless sponges to absorb the broth or spices you cook them in. Come at me, chicken defenders. ;-)

But on the subject of the OP, no way would I deprive my cat of what he needs to survive. If the premise of your vegetarian (or flexatarian in my case) diet is opposition to animal cruelty, it's a lot harder in my mind to justify starving your cat than it is to justify feeding him offal from the animals already being killed for breasts, wings, or what have you. I think PETA reconciles this by saying no one should have pets in the first place, but I don't put much stock in their opinions.

I had a vegetarian girlfriend and she cooked us some "chicken breast fillets" that were made from some kind of beans. I really could not tell that they were not real chicken breasts. I don't get along well with soy so I'm sure it wasn't tofu.
 

Esprise Me

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Now you have me wondering just where I read pre-1959 info. It's true that I have been going online since before there was any internet, but certainly not as far back as '59 :wink:
I don't mean to alarm you, but there are some things on the internet even today that aren't true. :wink:
 

drbill

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DIVE DRY WITH DR. BILL #899: KEEPING THE KIDS CLOSE BY

Back when I was a senior in high school I was trying to decide which college to go to. I had been accepted to Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Stanford and Michigan State (MSU). In fact Harvard had actively recruited me starting in my junior year. However, despite being valedictorian of my class, I wasn't sure I was up to the challenge and also wanted to be near my girlfriend of that time.

We put the names of the five colleges into a hat and I drew one out. It was MSU, Mom's alma mater and later that of my younger sister Judy. Dad seemed a bit hesitant about that saying he thought I should venture out further away from Chicago. I pulled a second name out of the hat and it was Harvard. The rest is history!

Although Dad wanted me to venture out (and Mom may have feared I'd bring my laundry home every other weekend), there are some species that like to keep the kids close to home. One that I discovered my first year on the island is the proliferating or brooding anemone, Epiactis prolifera. We found it on drifting kelp rafts that we sampled in my lab at Toyon and saw others while diving, usually attached to larger brown algae.

The specimens that I found were all orange to pink in color. Their base or column may have lines radiating out from it. Jensen et al. Beneath Pacific Tides indicates that some, believed to be of the same species, are greenish in color. That source says that the pinkish ones are usually found in high current habitats while the greenish ones live in eelgrass beds. The geographic range of this species is from SE Alaska to San Diego, so the individuals in our waters are near the southern end of their range.

This species gets its common names from the fact that it reproduces year-round and broods its young for several months with up to 40 kids present at a time. Certainly couldn't afford child care for that many! Young adults are female but later they become synchronous hermaphrodites with both sex organs in each individual. Although fertilization usually involves more than one anemone, they can also self-fertilize.

After a few months the youngsters decide to see the world and crawl away from the Mommy/Daddy. Since there is no planktonic larval stage, they can't travel far. Getting to Catalina or any of the other Channel Islands might be too difficult a trip... unless they attached to a drifting kelp raft to see the world. Finding individuals of this species on such rafts proved that they can hitch a ride out to our island paradise.

These anemones are too small (just over an inch or so) to capture large prey. It is believed they feed on small crustaceans. In turn, as members of The Mutual Eating Society, they are eaten by the nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa, the leather star Dermasterias imbricata and a few fish. I've never tried anemone... and doubt I ever will!

© 2021 Dr. Bill Bushing. For the entire archived set of over 900 "Dive Dry" columns, visit my website Star Thrower Educational Multimedia (S.T.E.M.) Home Page

Image caption: Two images of the brooding anemone taken on rocks in my lab tanks at the Catalina Island School (Toyon Bay) way back in the early 70s; its nudibranch and sea star predators.

DDDB 899 epiactis prolifera sm.jpg
 
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