Main Street Vegan Interview on Dec 4

Victoria Moran of Main Street Vegan will be interviewing me on Wednesday, December 4th, 3:00 pm Eastern Time / Noon Pacific Time.

You can listen live at the Main Street Vegan website and call in with questions: 888-558-6489 (U.S.), 816-347-5519 (outside the U.S).

12 Responses to “Main Street Vegan Interview on Dec 4”

  1. Dan Says:

    Hi Jack, I am looking forward to it. I love the work you do on this site, on and of course your vegan outreach. You have changed so many lives for the better with your advocacy, both human and non-human!

  2. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Thanks, Dan! Very nice of you to say.

  3. Dan Says:

    Hi Jack,
    Do you think it would be a dicey thing for a vegan person to donate blood to the Red Cross without knowing their ferritin or hemoglobin/hematocrit status? The Red Cross does a very basic test and if you are significantly anemic (I think the cutpoint is 12 g/dL, but may be sex-specific), you can’t give blood. But this tells one nothing about iron status, only overt anemia. I have been thinking of giving blood but do not have any bloodwork numbers for the past 15 months or so. On a vegan diet, heme iron absorption doesn’t happen and so recovery after phlebotomy may be somewhat delayed. Do you know any vegan blood donors? Do they do so regularly, or as one off donations? And do they do it without knowing their ferritin status?

    (Certainly I think it would be dicey in a premenopausal, menstruating, vegan female)

  4. Jack Norris RD Says:


    I am not aware of any vegans who regularly donate blood, which is not to say that aren’t any (or even a lot).

  5. Ariann Says:

    I have donated blood several times both pregan and vegan. In both dietary cases, I have had times when I didn’t make the iron cut off and times when I did. I never knew my ferritin levels. If I made the cut off, I of course donated. I always felt totally fine after, didn’t notice any issues with recovery. Anemia is pretty common in premenopausal women, including non vegetarian women. Most regular blood donors I know who are women (all non veg) occasionally fail to make the cut off.

  6. Katherine Says:

    I have been vegan for over 4 years and I have donated blood regularly over the past 3 years. I am a 22 year old female. I do not know my ferritin status, but I almost always meet the hemoglobin cutoff. It’s worth noting that the hemoglobin cutoff for the American Red Cross is higher than what an individual generally needs to be healthy. I haven’t had any recovery issues, and I am physically active (though I don’t work out the day of donation, I’ve been fine working out the following day). If you are able to give blood, I think it is a valuable gift and a very generous thing to do! If you give it a try, I hope donation goes well for you!

  7. Dan Says:

    Thank you, Ariann and Katherine. I am strongly considering becoming a regular donor again. I used to volunteer at the Red Cross as a teenager (more than 20 years ago). I have had an easier transition to veganism than most, but it’s still been quite recent. I do still worry on occasion whether 1) I am depriving myself of important amino acids and other substances found largely in animals that most RDs and PhDs don’t seem to worry about (e.g. choline, tryptophan, taurine, carnitine, ubiquinol); and 2) whether by eating large quantities of nuts and raw cruciferous vegetables I am harming myself by virtue of lectins, phytates, and goitrogens. (It is not easy to have time to steam crudités for many meals).

    I just don’t know. Time will tell. Since my veganism is at least as much, if not more, ethically based as it is health-based, I don’t intend to change back to omnivore status. It can be very hard this time of year though, because social get-togethers almost never contain anything I can actually eat, and it feels quite isolating to attend a holiday party. One has to patiently explain why I am the only one without anything on my plate without causing offense to the host – this can be really self-alienating, although I have never minded being viewed as eccentric.

    Woah, this post has gone far beyond blood donation!

  8. Jack Norris RD Says:


    1) Any individual might have problems with one of these nutrients, but it’s probably very rare. I take solace in the fact that children have been raised vegan from birth and turn out healthy while only supplementing with B12 or a common multivitamin. Unfortunately, this is anecdotal.

    2) Steam your cruciferous vegetables one time to last a couple days.

    Social get-togethers — if it’s a dinner party, let the host know ahead of time that you’re vegan and that you’re happy to bring some food for yourself.

  9. Dan Says:

    Thanks Jack. I appreciate all the advice. One last note on salt — it is incredible how quickly I feel better after taking even 1/4 tsp of salt. Sometimes I think it could be placebo but it tastes awful and on occasion (like today) I even caught myself feeling so much better AFTER forgetting the fact that I had taken some salt by 1/4 teaspoon measure about one half hour before. Thus if you’ve forgotten you just supplemented, how could that be a placebo effect.

    Great idea re: social get-togethers.

  10. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Dan’s comment, re: salt, is in reference to a conversation we were having over email in which he strongly suspects he’s getting bouts of low blood pressure from not having enough sodium in his diet, and finding that adding sodium has made him feel much better.

  11. Ariann Says:

    I also benefit from extra salt. I trend toward low blood pressure.

    Dan, I wish you the best of luck on your vegan journey. All this social stuff takes a long time to figure out and it will be different depending on what group of friends or family you are with. I have been vegetarian for 20 years and vegan for almost half of that (I think, there’s been a ittle back and forth) and it is just recently that my family has really gone out of their way to accommodate me at holiday gatherings. I always bring tons of food with me and I have made peace with not eating at certain parties – I am there for the company, not the food, anyway. A rule I always follow, though, is to bring my own dessert. I can cope with not eating dinner, but it is depressing to not have something sweet when everyone else is! I make a lot of pies all at once in November, stick them in the freezer, and then pull them out for various functions. You could do the same with cake, cookies, brownies, etc.

  12. Dan Says:

    Thanks Ariann.

    My stupid stupor is probably not just salt-related but a combination of factors – probably consuming too many goitrogens in raw, uncooked brassica spp. (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) – as well as probably an overhang/withdrawal from a prescription medication I have been weaning myself off of (which has a nasty discontinuation syndrome and needs very slow tapering).

    This morning I read for myself much of the PubMed-based literature on goitrogens in cruciferous vegetables, and it’s very disturbing. In women with marginal iodine intake, these vegetables double the risk of getting thyroid cancer (at least in Melanesian women with low iodine intake). There are similar data for animals. I think steaming has to be the way to go for me, as Jack originally told me (somehow, I fell off the steaming bandwagon).

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