Saturday, June 12, 2010
Vegetarian Pattern Baldness
I admit it: I have not been particularly vigilant about my diet of late. Due to ethical obligations, I stopped consuming commercially raised animal products about a year ago, which makes me effectively a vegan at restaurants and a vegetarian most of the rest of the time, although I am technically neither, since I don't have any problem with actually eating meat -- only with treating living beings as production units who are incapable of suffering.
On top of that, since learning how incredibly destructive and resource-heavy feedlots and commercial dairies are, I've been even more reluctant than usual to support factory farming. If you are worried about doing your part to put a dent in BP's profits, don't cut back on your driving, cut back on your steaks and spare ribs. It makes a much, MUCH bigger difference.
I don't have the income at present to buy humanely raised and slaughtered meat, so I've been living off of fruits, veggies, and rice. And chocolate, of course. While I find this delicious and gastronomically satisfactory, it has apparently had some impact on my health. My hair is thinning. Like, whoah. It's a little scary, in fact. I'm thirty and I'm going bald.
Thank goodness for research. I've learned that in women of my age, hair loss is nearly always due to iron deficiency -- and what is the biggest cause of iron deficiency? Not eating meat. Damn. Of course, you can still get lots of iron from a vegetarian or vegan diet, but I haven't been eating with my iron needs in mind, so I undoubtedly have failed miserably to do that over the past year. My hair is punishing me for this. In any case, eating humanely has to be done carefully -- iron-rich non-animal foods are out there, but their iron is less accessible to the body, and there are some tricks to making full use of it, such as eating iron-rich foods with vitamin-C-rich foods (no problem for me -- there's nothing I'd rather drink with any meal than a big fat glass of grapefruit juice). Oh, and both soy and caffeine inhibit the body's absorption of iron. Good-bye, grande soy caramel sauce lattes. :'(
Heme iron -- the kind found in animal sources -- is the simplest for the body to access. No special tricks needed, no calculators, no graphs, no grapefruit juice -- just eat a steak. A delicious, juicy, medium-rare steak with bleu cheese and worcestershire sauce. Mmmmmmm.
Knowing all this doesn't help me keep at bay the monstrous craving I've had lately for meatloaf and barbecued ribs. Dear god, I need my books to sell SOON so I can buy a chest freezer and a quarter of a nice, happily raised, humanely killed cow.
In any case, I've started taking iron supplements (again -- this happened to me once before. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson) and seeking out iron-rich veggies and vitamin C. Hopefully in six months or so I'll have thicker hair and I won't look like a granny, getting all thin and wispy around the crown.
This is not good for my image. There is nothing sexy about balding lady writers. I bet Joyce Carol Oates never went bald. She probably yells at a steak every day and then writes a novel in its steak-juices, though. SIGH.
At least the sun is finally, FINALLY shining today. We've had the most disappointing summer ever. We wait for nine months to get a little sunshine, and so far we've been denied until this late into the season. I knew last night that today would be a good day, because I saw the stars come out for the first time in months. It's making me feel hopeful -- about my hair, about my writing, about everything.