Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pixie-Update

First I want to thank everyone out there for not ripping me to pieces for showcasing a product that turned out not to be vegan -- I feel so bad! As someone pointed out, Dr. Fuhrman's Pixie-Vites contain the variety of vitamin D that comes from sheep's wool. Although I always try to be careful and read labels, I completely failed to notice this one.

I contacted Dr. Fuhrman right away and asked about the Pixie-Vites. You can visit the Disease Proof blog to read his response.

Here's a quote:
The reason why the Vitamin D in Pixie Vites is not vegan and made from wool (please note it is not made by killing animals) is because that form of D is twice as absorbable as the vegan type and many kids do not eat a whole Pixie Vite and only take a small portion of one. I did not want to short change some kid by not supplying them with adequate D, so I let that one non-vegan ingredient slip by (since it is made from a by product of wool manufacturing).

41 comments:

Jane M said...

It isn't hard to miss something. I know I have a million times over.

veganmum said...

I followed your link to their site and didn't notice that, either! :) Another one here who's missed ingredients a million times.

His response is interesting, but I wonder why they couldn't just include twice the amount of D2 instead. Or perhaps we could - gasp - send our kids out to play in the sunshine so they can synthesize their own vitamin D. :)

(actually, I live in a northern clime and I realize this isn't always possible, and I do feed my vegan kids fortified beverages. But, personally, D isn't one of the vitamins/minerals I would be looking for in a kids' multivitamin anyway.)

Sorry Shmoo liked them so much!

marisa said...

All I can say is that we try and do the best we can. Its great that so many people are aware of what they are eating! I can't beat myself up for missing one little thing when I try so hard, and neither should you. Great job on the update, by the way. Thanks!

marisa said...
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Elizabeth said...

I recently was looking for a product to oil my second-hand leather boots with (I know--but at least they're second-hand, and my feet just need better support than I can find in non-leather). I was shopping for other things, too, and had just spent a ton of time finding the right shoelaces. So I grabbed the first oily kind of shoe treatment that said it treated leather.

I get it home and my daughter says to me, "Mom! You bought *mink oil?* Don't you know how they get it--they whip the minks to get the oil out!" Now, it turns out that's not true, but all I can think of is mink S&M.....ick. Not what I meant to get but I wasn't thinking.

Anonymous said...

That's unfortunate that they aren't vegan :\ What are you planning to do with the rest of the Pixie Vites? Will schmoo be able to have them still since it's a wool product only?

Avery said...

Well, no one is perfect! It seems that a lot of people expect you to be perfect though and that is probably stressful sometimes! You do such a wonderful lunch for your son everyday and it is just incredible how some people comb it over to find SOMETHING to gripe about. I am sure it isn't easy to put yourself out there all of the time but I am glad that you do! I look forward to your blog entries and I can't wait for the book!

Anonymous said...

oh! i'm sorry you even had to thank your readers for not ripping you to pieces. good grief, no one likes the vegan police (take note: vegan police)!

Anonymous said...

I agree with what everyone else is saying. We vegans can just do the best we can!! So don't beat yourself up, Jennifer! =)

RockScissorsPaper said...

Elizabeth- I think your daughter was thinking of how MUSK is obtained.

YellowBellyHippy said...

Way to go Jennifer. Im so glad you contacted him. I left a comment to it at his site.... I think its false advertising.!!!

Anonymous said...

Out of curiousity, what is so haorrible about shearing a sheep to get wool? I'm not flaming or critizing, I am just a curious woman. I love the blog and think everyone should be more passionate about something.

Angie said...

Hi anonymous,

Vegans are defined by the Vegan Society as avoiding all animal products, including leather, wool, lanolin, and honey. While sheep aren't necessarily slaughtered for wool, they will be eventually slaughtered once they are no longer "useful" to the wool industry. This is similar to why vegans don't eat dairy products. While cows may not be slaughtered to produce milk, they will more than likely be slaughtered for meat when they are no longer able to produce milk. These animals are also treated very inhumanely, and vegans don't support that.

For example, sheep are given procedures such as mulesing, where an area the size of a plate is cut from around the rear end of some breeds of sheep to prevent flystrike in the excessive folds of skin in this area. This skin is cut off without any anaesthetic and is extremely painful. This is the industry's solution for a problem caused by selectively breeding sheep to have excessive skin so they produce more wool.

I hope this answers your question.

JenniferSchmoo: I love your blog and read it every week. Thank you for being such an inspiration to not only vegans, but to people everywhere. I am so glad to see that you are teaching your son healthy eating habits from a young age.

RockScissorsPaper said...

Regarding the wool industry... a couple of other things (in addition to mulesing) that bother me are:
*The workers who do the shearing are paid by the amount of wool they obtain, not by the hour... so they are interested in getting their job done as quickly as possible which can lead to a lot of throwing around of the animals, including many shearing-blade mishaps.
*In some cases the sheep may be sheered too early and then don't have their own coats to protect them from extremely cold temperatures.
*When the sheep are no longer producing ample/quality wool, they are sent to slaughter. Almost *all* wool comes from Australia. The sheep are loaded onto huge ships in extreme weather and shipped to Egypt, Kuwait and Oman where they are inhumanely killed (the ones that survive the long journey that is) since those countries do not have any humane slaughter laws in place. There was just undercover video obtained showing barbaric cruelty to these animals when they got off the ship in Egypt which caused the Australian government put a hault on live export. I'm not sure if it continued again now, this was a couple of weeks ago. It was on the news.

You can actually view the video on www.savethesheep.com . I dont' think I can watch it. The still photo is enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Many of us consider orselves vegans because we only use products obtained humanely. Not all sheep used for wool are treated this way. Not all dairy cows are mistreated. Another very ethical alternative is to advocate for humane conditions for animals. It could even be argued that this approach would save more animals than just avoiding eating them. The more hue and cry for ethical safe animal products and sustainible agriculture, the better we all will be.

Angie said...

Anonymous: You would then consider yourself a "dietary vegan", since only your diet avoids animal products. I'm not sure what you mean by only using products obtained humanely. If you ate meat that was obtained humanely, then you would not consider yourself vegan.

I agree with your point that not all animals are treated inhumanely for wool or dairy. Unfortunately, many of the animals are still sent to slaughter for meat. When I was a ovo-lacto vegetarian, I made a committment to only eating dairy products from organic farms where the animals were treated humanely. After contacting every single organic dairy farm in the region, I was shocked to find out that all but one farm sent the male calves to veal farms. The older female cows were also sent to slaughter. It was at this point that I realized that it was not ethical for me to consume dairy products knowing that I was supporting the meat industry, something I was against as a vegetarian.

Veganism is by no means a "bloodless" diet. Thousands of animals die to make way for vegetable crops. I probably squish 294 bugs a day just walking down the street. A lot of things happen in this world that are out of my control, and I'm ok with that. I believe that vegans advocate for the humane treatment of all beings, human or animal. By choosing to not eat certain foods, we are in turn protesting those industries. That's why most vegans draw the line at ALL animal products, as opposed to only those obtained humanely. I am 100% behind the concept of Fair Trade, but if given the choice I would not eat animal products or wear leather or wool, even if they have been produced "humanely".

the vegan vulcan said...

"only use products obtained humanely. Not all sheep used for wool are treated this way. Not all dairy cows are mistreated. Another very ethical alternative is to advocate for humane conditions for animals."

Annonymous: not to call you out, but this is not a "vegan" attitude. I think you could call it the ethos of a strict vegetarian, but vegans avoid all animal products, even "humanely" obtained ones. Why? For one, I doubt the idea of "humanely" obtained animal products-- this is often a joke, unless you are the one raising the animals, or it is your friend or something.

Part of being vegan is realizing that animals are not ours to use, and that they have their own interests beyond being commodities for human use. Even "humane" dairy is still milk taken from the cow that should be used to nourish her calf. Modern sheep are bred for wool as well as mutton. Slaughter and non-slaughtere animal products are impossible to separate from one another.

Advocating for "humane" condidtions still implies that we, as humans, have the right to take from animals what we want, when we want it. I know, as a vegan, this is not an acceptable stance for me to take, and it is antithetical to the definition set forth by the Vegan Society.

I avoid all animal products, because "organic" "free range" "humane" are all buzzwords that simply mask cruelty.

My two cents!

RockScissorsPaper said...
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appifanie said...

Such a bummer they're non-vegan! They sound fun and yummy. Oh well.

You're still practically perfect J-Shmoo :)

RockScissorsPaper said...

It is a common misconception that "organic" milk is from cows who are treated more humanely, which is simply not the case. "Organic" does not refer to the treatment of the cows at all, but rather what they are fed (a pesticide-free diet) and that they are not given growth hormones or antibiotics. In some cases, this can actually work against the cows. If a cow that is being used for organic dairy gets mastitis, I don't believe the cow can be given antibiotics. And it's been reported that the conditions for "organic" dairy cows are no different than other factory-farmed cows. They are still on concrete floors, hooked up to milking machines, and treated like product.

Cows' milk is for baby cows. Pure and simple. Cow milk is designed for their own babies which have four stomachs and will gain something like 300 pounds in the first year. Humans have no business drinking it.

An A-List Celebrity said...

Jennifer, I also really want to know what will happen to the pixie vites now. When I decided to go vegetarian, I had some chicken in my freezer. I thought about throwing it out, but then decided to eat it so the chickens would not have died in vain. What's your take on the proper "disposal" of non-vegan products?

Anonymous said...

There seems to be something missing here in the tolerance department. These are tricky issues with many opinions and research on all sides. Of course a true vegan is going to subscribe to a certain set of guidelines, but the underlying theme that everyone else is cruel, unethical, etc. is what scares me. There are humane farmers and there are ways to raise animals humanely. It's a lot of work to buy locally, visit the farms, get to know the farmers etc. Also, many animals are killed by agri-business. Why don't we look for things we can agree on. I am a vegan, but have friends who are vegetarian, pescetarian, ovo-lacto, omni, soy-free,wheat-free,etc.... The majority of people are omni, so if we advocate for better conditions on big farms (plant and animal)we will change the world the most.

Anonymous said...

Didn't make that clear that I meant many animals are also killed by agribusiness in the process of producing plants. (Rodents killed cruelly during harvesting, insects by pesticides, pests by integrated pest management methods... This is not really a black or white, evil vs, good issue. We each weigh the evidence and do the best we can. Let's be kind, curious and open-minded to others' opinions and rationales.

Nicole said...

Okay, I hesitate to post this comment given that the comments have already gone off track, but I feel as though I need to respond to the wool discussion.

I grew up on a sheep farm. Although my family no longer raises sheep, the majority of my life thus far was spent raising them. And, yes, every spring we sheared them. Not for the pittance we received for the wool. There is no "wool industry" for the small farmer (one raising a couple hundred to a couple thousand head of sheep). It generally costs more for a small farmer to shear his sheep than he will receive in return for selling it. So, why then? Because it's good for the health of the sheep and its offspring. An unshorn sheep is very likely to die of heat exhaustion during the summer as temperatures rise. It's also very hard for newborn lambs to suckle on a ewe that is unshorn, especially if the lamb is not a hardy one. Lambs are not always the healthiest creatures and need every advantage they can get, and when they're newborns is the most critical time for them to get the fortified colostrum of their mother.

So, what's my point? I'm not sure. I just really wish more people knew this information. For those who do use animal products, maybe it will persuade them to get to know the practices of their small local growers, if for no other reason than to make an informed decision regarding use of animal products. And possibly persuade them to buy products from the small farmer with good practices.

And, Jennifer, though I'm not a vegan (or vegetarian), I quite enjoy your blog. The variety you create is amazing!

Janna said...

Aww. This makes me sad. I was going to buy some too since I've always been crazy about kids vitamins. They're just so much more fun. ]= I used to be a Flintstones kid but they use gelatin.

rabi said...

some of us are vegans in large part for the environmental benefits. vitamin d from wool is extremely energy-inefficient compared to plant sources or the totally renewable solar energy source.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I grew up on a small dairy farm with a few of everything else. Truly sustainable agriculture. We used everything and believe me the animals were treated right. We sold to a couple who runs the farm now in the most responsible clean way possible. Also--animals raised organically can still be given antibiotics if they are sick--they are just separated from the herd. And a pastured animal (eating what he's meant to eat) almost never would get sick. What is avoided by the organic label is the blanket use of antibiotics. Actually, even non-organic dairy farms use less antibiotics than you think--antibiotics kill off the good bacteria and make the milk unsaleable to cheesemakers, a big market.
These small farmers need all the support they can get. Of course vegans won't want to buy their products, but for the many non-vegans who visit this site it's something to look into. Any health objections to meat and dairy fade away when you are talking about healthy pastured, grass eating animals. Or chickens who are pastured and eat a balance of grasses, grains and yes, bugs. Big business farming methods have taken the omega-3's out of our meat and dairy. Better methods put it back.

Ms.Samantha said...

just a little note about diary, not meant to offend or harm but to follow up on annoymous. just a little info.... i worked on a dairy farm in MN for many many years, and never once saw a cow slaughtered after it was unable to produce milk, also never saw a cow mistreated in anyway. I think that before you label a whole industry you need to make note that it's mostly factory farms that treat animals poorly. small farms barely making it by LOVE those animals and they are part of the family :) but i understand where y'all are coming from. i just wanted to let you know that not ALL dairy farmers are bad guys :)

the vegan vulcan said...

>>Let's be kind, curious and open-minded to others' opinions and rationales.

I really thought this had been a pretty tame discussion, especially compared to Honey Debate 2006 a few posts ago.

My whole point was just that sure, maybe there are places that are kind to animals, but vegans don't feel that it's OK to use animals as units of production. If you want to eat "humane" milk (which I still have my doubts about, but hey), eggs, meat or whatever, no one can stop you. But it's not "vegan" according to the definition of the word. ;)

Anonymous said...

Agreed that eating humanely raised animal products would not be vegan. WHat I meant is that even those of us who are vegan should advocate for humane conditions. That's the way to effect the lives of many animals.
ALso we need to be vigilant about conditions under which plants are grown.
Personally I sympathise with my native American descended friends who reverentially utilize all the bounty of the earth in the most respectful way.

RockScissorsPaper said...

I just want to say I wasn't implying that every farmer is a bad guy. Factory farming is the bad guy, no questions asked. But I'm sure there are some very fine small farms out there where the animals are treated "humanely"... I just personally have no interest *at all* in consuming or wearing anything from animals. And I wouldn't want to have to guess or wonder about the conditions the animals were raised in for my usage. By being vegan, I never have to wonder, and I live guilt-free. This is my personal stance.

There are many different views out there, even between vegans. I don't think there should be just one universal viewpoint. I think we are all trying to do as good as we can for the earth and its animals.

I love hearing everyone's different viewpoints and perspectives. We all live in different places and see and hear different things, so it's nice to be able to share.

Although... Isn't this a food blog? LOL! I think we've all gone a little crazy during shmoo's Spring Break. Whodathunk Vegan Lunch Box would be so addictive that we'd go into withdrawal and start all of these discussions???!!!!!

I just want to say: I *love* being vegan. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made in my whole life and something I feel good about each and every day. And I love this blog!

Elena said...

Your Pixie-Vites experience reminds me of what happened this Christmas. I put a few lip balms in my partner's stocking, and when he raved about them I told him where to get them. I said "You have to be careful, because they have vegan ones and non-vegan ones and the labels look pretty similar," as I pointed to one of the tubes. Then we both saw it - I bought one of the ones with beeswax. Duh! He went ahead and used it anyway, but we'll read more carefully next time!

Ravin said...

I may be pointing out the obvious, but Vit D isn't even a vitamin, and if Schmoo gets even moderate amounts of outside play time (and therefore sunshine), his own body will make all that he needs and he doesn't need any form of supplement for it.

Anonymous said...

I was going to say the same thing. As long as people are getting some sun light everyday they don't need a supplement. They could put in the vegan form and kids would still be getting all their vit D if they just got outside some everyday.
Heather

RockScissorsPaper said...

My doctor told me that you can even get (synthesize) your Vitamin D from sun coming through your windows. She said she would only worry about Vit. D if you lived in a basement with no windows and didn't ever get out in the sun.

Anonymous said...

Well, just because you made a mistake doesn't make you a bad vegan or anything silly like that. It's easy to not see something on a label, especially if the company makes other vegan products.
That's really not your fault! It could have happened to anyone.

If people had "ripped you to pieces" over that, it would have been pretty mean of them. It's an honest mistake that anyone could have made.

YellowBellyHippy said...

I just want to add that I am vegan because I don't think its right to use animals for whatever purpose we want. I don't use any animal products even in our soaps, shampoos, laundry soaps ect. And unfortunately MOST farms are AWFUL and I refuse to support anyone who uses animals for the benefit of humans. Its a no brainer for me. Its just wrong.

Anonymous said...

Probably not most numerically. There are a very few large farms and many(but dwindling) small farms. If people who are socially conscious limit their own diet, but don't fight to improve conditions on those big farms or support the small farmers in a sutainable earth friendly, local business then the big guys will take over.
Also, remember that it's a luxury for us to be vegetarians and vegans. This would just not have been an option for my parents and their parents. Lets lose the "holier than thou" attitude that turns people off and embrace all the many ways we can make the world a better place. ok, this is getting a tad corny, but I mean it!)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>What are you planning to do with the rest of the Pixie Vites? Will schmoo be able to have them still since it's a wool product only?

We will use them up. I don't like to just throw things away; if I can't find a good home for something I would rather use it up versus throwing it away.

red said...

thank you








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