Veganism Unhealthy? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-28-2008, 02:54 PM
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I'm new to this lifestyle, only recently cut all animal products from my life.

I have numerous people telling me that vegans need to take supplements so its unhealthy, and vegans are always sick. I'm paranoid about it because I have a ten month old who I will be raising vegan/vegetarian, and Im worried about making sure he gets the vitamins and nutrients he needs.
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#2 Old 12-28-2008, 03:03 PM
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I'm also very curios on this subject. Info would be muyyyyy appreciated
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#3 Old 12-28-2008, 03:31 PM
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According to the American Dietetic Association a well planned vegan diet is healthy at any stage of life.



http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg...3_ENU_HTML.htm



The only supplement you should is B12 if you are eating well.
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#4 Old 12-28-2008, 04:33 PM
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I think on these boards you will find lots of anecdotal evidence that a vegan diet is as healthy or healthier than a non-vegan diet. I can tell you that I haven't eaten meat, dairy or eggs in years and years and have been very healthy, and I'm sure many others here will echo that sentiment.



I believe there is a board on this website devoted to raising vegetarian families. You may want to check that out.
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#5 Old 12-28-2008, 04:37 PM
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There's already plenty of evidence that people are just fine on a vegan lifestyle.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kylie*esque View Post

I have numerous people telling me that vegans need to take supplements so its unhealthy



Do they think all supplements were made for vegans?



Quote:
Originally Posted by kylie*esque View Post

and vegans are always sick.



Ask them how many vegans they've met and how many of those were always sick. Get specifics.



People say a lot of wacky things.

I believe everything.
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#6 Old 12-28-2008, 04:42 PM
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A B12 suppliment isn't a bad idea.



There is some evidence that most diets in the western world have unhealthy ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, and vegan sources of omega 6 fatty acids are somewhat scant.



But mostly its like every other diet, it is as healthy or unhealthy as you make it.
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#7 Old 12-28-2008, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylie*esque View Post

I have numerous people telling me that vegans need to take supplements so its unhealthy, and vegans are always sick.

Just look around you at all the processed foods that are manufactured for people who do consume animal milks, eggs, and meat. Breakfast cereals, instant drink mixes, pre-packaged and instant meals, snacks, etc. all fortified with Vitamins D and B12, iron, and calcium, and ask yourself why these foods have vitamins and minerals added to them if eating animal products provides proper nutrition.



There is nothing inherent in any set of food choices that makes them healthy or unhealthy. You have to do your homework, and make sure you know what the RDAs are and how to get them. People who eat an omnivorous diet are mistaken when they assume that since they are eating what is erroneously called a "balanced" diet including foods from all the food "groups" they have nothing to worry about. They have as much to worry about as we do, maybe more, because people who do eschew animal products are at least reducing their chances of developing the problems overconsumption of animal fats, proteins, and hormones can cause.

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#8 Old 12-28-2008, 06:53 PM
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I'm coming up on 3 months vegan and I've never felt better. Keep variety in your diet (as awesome as vegan cookies are try not to live on them), pop a multivitamin at some point during the day and you'll be all set, healthy and happy as a clam.

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#9 Old 12-29-2008, 04:09 AM
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I do believe that the vast majority of folks in hospitals are not vegan; therefore, could it be, that their omni diets are not healthy?
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#10 Old 12-29-2008, 04:49 AM
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The only supplement you should is B12 if you are eating well.



i dont think you need b12 supplements. since turning vegan about 2 yrs ago, ive never taken any pill / supplement once, and not been ill once, perfectly healthy.



as for b12 tho, the reason you dont need a supplement is that its fortified in SO many foods. for instance, if you eat cereals with any kind of regularity, as b12 is fortified in basically every cereal ive come across, you are amply suplied - it's a non issue. if anything the b12 issue is just an anti vegan propoganda tool. it's also in a plethora of other foods, im sure a quick google search would provide you with a list.
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#11 Old 12-29-2008, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

Just look around you at all the processed foods that are manufactured for people who do consume animal milks, eggs, and meat. Breakfast cereals, instant drink mixes, pre-packaged and instant meals, snacks, etc. all fortified with Vitamins D and B12, iron, and calcium, and ask yourself why these foods have vitamins and minerals added to them if eating animal products provides proper nutrition.



Indeed.



Personally I have felt better on a vegan diet which I think is to do with the fact that I eat so many fruits, veggies and wholegrains and I know now so much more about nutrition because I did the research. I have had many omni friends and family say that I should "be careful" now I am vegan but it is them that are on meds for things like high blood pressure, are obese or have other health problems.
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#12 Old 12-29-2008, 01:09 PM
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The fact that people who have no clue at all regarding nutrition think it necessary to give warning advice is simply bizarre. I doubt that anyone who claims that veganism is unhealthy has ever read one book on the subject.



A vegan diet is one of the healthiest diets out there IF IT CONSISTS OF ORGANIC UNPROCESSED PRODUCE!!!! If you have always eaten mainly highly processed foods (a.k.a. crap) full of fat, sugar and artificial additives, and just cut out all animal produce it is unhealthy. But it was unhealthy before - okay? If you ate trash before the mere cutting out of animal produce doesnt turn it to gold.



And I totally agree with the opinion that a B12 supplement is not necessary. It is produced by ourselves -if we do not lack the so called intrinsic factor. People who lack it should take a supplement. Apart from that - if you eat a well balanced diet you do not need supplements. The body processes the nutrients of foods way better than of pills.
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#13 Old 12-29-2008, 01:36 PM
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And I totally agree with the opinion that a B12 supplement is not necessary. It is produced by ourselves -if we do not lack the so called intrinsic factor. People who lack it should take a supplement. Apart from that - if you eat a well balanced diet you do not need supplements. The body processes the nutrients of foods way better than of pills.



This is just plain misleading and wrong. Yes B-12 is produced in our lower intestinal tracts but it is not bio-available to us. Vegans and strict vegetarians have no reliable source of B-12 other than fortified foods and supplements.



And what's the difference between popping a multi and eating a fortified food?
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#14 Old 12-29-2008, 03:08 PM
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I've found that I don't need to eat supplements

Silk in the Red carton is a suuuupeerrr fortefied soy milk (and it's tasty too)

that and some iron-full cereal and some orange juice.



there's really all i have problems obtaining in those three things



I just find I eat less junk

and more REAL food.
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#15 Old 12-29-2008, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by EmmeV View Post

The fact that people who have no clue at all regarding nutrition think it necessary to give warning advice is simply bizarre. I doubt that anyone who claims that veganism is unhealthy has ever read one book on the subject.



So true.



And you know what's funny. Right after going vegan, a camp counselor at my summer camp asked how I knew all the things I knew about animal rights. I said I read a book. And she acted like I was brainwashed for listening to a book.



Because to blindly listening to her would have been so independent.



I don't think anyone on this board is a nutritionist, but at least we can say that veg*nism works because we're doing it!
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#16 Old 01-02-2009, 11:52 AM
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This is just plain misleading and wrong. Yes B-12 is produced in our lower intestinal tracts but it is not bio-available to us. Vegans and strict vegetarians have no reliable source of B-12 other than fortified foods and supplements.



I severely doubt that I am wrong.

Read this for example:

http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1278811



The B12 legend is a myth. My opinion. And all the healthy eating non supplement consuming vegans and vegetarians without any deficiency are living proof.
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#17 Old 01-02-2009, 12:32 PM
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There is some evidence that most diets in the western world have unhealthy ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, and vegan sources of omega 6 fatty acids are somewhat scant.

Omega-6 is all over, to the extent that it's a problem because we (vegans and meat-eaters alike) are getting way too much. I think you've got it wrong. It's omega-3 which is typically "scant", although you can get sufficient amounts of it in your diet if you plan a bit.



Quote:
Originally Posted by michael2 View Post

i dont think you need b12 supplements. since turning vegan about 2 yrs ago, ive never taken any pill / supplement once, and not been ill once, perfectly healthy.



as for b12 tho, the reason you dont need a supplement is that its fortified in SO many foods. for instance, if you eat cereals with any kind of regularity, as b12 is fortified in basically every cereal ive come across, you are amply suplied - it's a non issue. if anything the b12 issue is just an anti vegan propoganda tool. it's also in a plethora of other foods, im sure a quick google search would provide you with a list.

I don't know where to begin, but you are wrong wrong wrong. The B12 issue is just an anti-vegan propaganda tool? You're in denial, dude! Yes, it's true that some foods are fortified with B12, but most vegan cereals I've had were not fortified with it. It's also in some soya milks, but far from all of them. And even though you might get some B12 through fortified foods, there is no guarantee that you will get enough unless you plan well. Just saying.

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#18 Old 01-02-2009, 01:01 PM
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how many vegans have b12 deficiency? but i do think its a propoganda tool, if ever theres a radio debate about meat, people will come on (who are anti vegan/vegetarian pro meat) saying we lack calcium, protein, b12, etc. when these are all myths.



like i said what are the numbers to back up this perceived risk?



i just checked my cereals, it's in shreddies, rice crispies and corn flakes of the ones i have. so if you have a bowl of those with soymilk (also +b12), even once a week i'd think youre more than supplied. the amount you need to intake is TINY.
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#19 Old 01-02-2009, 01:52 PM
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You definitely need to make sure you get your B12. Whether you do this by taking a supplement or making sure it's fortified in some foods is up to you. The reason some people may feel "fine" while not getting their B12 is because a B12 deficiency is built up over time, and once you have one, you are stuck with it, so try to avoid one! Another nutrient to watch out for is the omega-3s. If you're interested in vegan nutrition I highly recommend the book Becoming Vegan. It goes into great detail about what nutrients you need to be aware of, the different current perspectives on vegan health, and I believe there are sections about vegan children health as well as pregnant and lactating vegans. It goes into detail on every health topic I can think of.



As far as the "vegans are always sick" thing, I can say from personal experience that I don't believe this. I have always had trouble staying well during the winter, and would get sick several other times a year also. Since being veg*n, I have only gotten a cold twice, and haven't even gotten one this winter yet- which has NEVER happened to me! I always have a cold almost all winter!



Good luck with everything
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#20 Old 01-02-2009, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by EmmeV View Post

I severely doubt that I am wrong.

Read this for example:

http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1278811



The B12 legend is a myth. My opinion. And all the healthy eating non supplement consuming vegans and vegetarians without any deficiency are living proof.



Actually, you are wrong. We cannot make use of the B12 produced in our large intestines (unless we eat our own excrement, of course).



The article you linked to is written by someone with no medical qualifications whatsover. The source of the allegation that B12 can be synthesized in the human body that the article uses is another article by Gena Shaw (again, not a medical professional, she's a self-professed "expert in nutrition", with no relevant degree), which is fundamentally flawed. I read it a couple of years ago and was flabbergasted by the amount of misinformation in it. I suggest you pick your sources more carefully.



B12 deficiency can cause irreversible neurological damage, so it's not something to be taken lightly.
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#21 Old 01-02-2009, 02:10 PM
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New to vegi lifestyle. However, I took nutrition last semester. *I am not claiming to be an expert on vegi nutrition.* Ok, according to what my teach said, 3 essential things a vegetarian/vegan need to watch are vit B-12, the essential amino acids (those not made by the body and omega fatty acids. If you don't eat a lot of fortified foods, take a B-12 supplement. My mom, a vegan, introduced me to a product called Bragg's Aminos, that gives you those essential amino acids and tastes like a soy sauce, it's used as a condiment. Flax, whether it be seed or oil, is a good source of omega fatty acids. And yes, it's a healthy lifestyle.



http://bragg.com/products/la.html
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#22 Old 01-02-2009, 02:13 PM
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B12 deficiency can cause irreversible neurological damage, so it's not something to be taken lightly.



right, and is there any data suggesting vegans suffer b12 deficiency moreso than the non vegan population?
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#23 Old 01-02-2009, 02:31 PM
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right, and is there any data suggesting vegans suffer b12 deficiency moreso than the non vegan population?



The group most at risk for B12 deficiency are the elderly. Vegans and vegetarians are also likely groups to be affected by B12 depletion.



Here's one the studies I could find on it, there are many more that discuss the issue. Try using pubmed.com and searching for relevant studies, if you're interested.
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#24 Old 01-02-2009, 02:44 PM
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The group most at risk for B12 deficiency are the elderly. Vegans and vegetarians are also likely groups to be affected by B12 depletion.



Here's one the studies I could find on it, there are many more that discuss the issue. Try using pubmed.com and searching for relevant studies, if you're interested.





did I lose?





anyway lets put this in perspective. when people bring up b12, saying its only found in animal sources, they say it as if its a proof that a meat based diet is obviously therefore more natural and healthy for us (because they might say, we NEED supplements).



well...theres many different vitamins and minerals, and lets be honest we dont live like we did a million years ago, when we might have had access to..i dont know some shrubs, nuts, fruits and the odd carrion? fact is almost everything we eat was shipped from somewhere else, so eating a food fortified with b12, like cereals makes you no more dependant on modern day technology than eating, oh i dont know an animal killed and then processed packaged and delivered to the nearest supermarket. talking of supermarkets which ones did our ancestors use?



i think its a point that needed to be made. as ive said the amount of b12 we need to intake is ridiculously tiny, and there are more than enough cheap/available foods fortified with it for it to be a non issue to anyone who eats a balanced diet - vegan or not.



rant ova
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#25 Old 01-02-2009, 03:23 PM
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Any diet can be unhealthy if you don't plan it well.



Supplement wise, B12 for sure unless you're really a nutritional yeast fiend. Possibly also Vitamin D as recommendations for D just increased a bunch and it's especially important in children so they don't develop rickets.

http://megatarian.blogspot.com
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#26 Old 01-02-2009, 03:28 PM
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The B12 legend is a myth. My opinion. And all the healthy eating non supplement consuming vegans and vegetarians without any deficiency are living proof.

I suggest you check their diets carefully, bearing in mind that:

a) it is found in eggs and cows' milk

b) the body can store B12

c) many foods are fortified

d) we don't need very much- less than two micrograms a day, in general.



In summation: of course vegetarians do okay without supplements! B12 is not solely available from meat. Do your research more carefully instead of accepting what you hear in the pub about how we need meat!



I myself am one of those healthy non-supplement consuming vegans. Why? Well, I suspect it to be due to the B12 in my diet. It's in my margarine, my soya milk, and the spread I use on toast (known as Marmite) and in breakfast cereals.
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#27 Old 01-02-2009, 10:38 PM
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did I lose?





anyway lets put this in perspective. when people bring up b12, saying its only found in animal sources, they say it as if its a proof that a meat based diet is obviously therefore more natural and healthy for us (because they might say, we NEED supplements).



well...theres many different vitamins and minerals, and lets be honest we dont live like we did a million years ago, when we might have had access to..i dont know some shrubs, nuts, fruits and the odd carrion? fact is almost everything we eat was shipped from somewhere else, so eating a food fortified with b12, like cereals makes you no more dependant on modern day technology than eating, oh i dont know an animal killed and then processed packaged and delivered to the nearest supermarket. talking of supermarkets which ones did our ancestors use?



i think its a point that needed to be made. as ive said the amount of b12 we need to intake is ridiculously tiny, and there are more than enough cheap/available foods fortified with it for it to be a non issue to anyone who eats a balanced diet - vegan or not.



rant ova

Most of what I have read about people with B12 induced anemia suggests that it is not caused by a dietary deficiency, but by an inability to assimilate it in the gut due to lack of intrinsic factor, and that it cannot be prevented nor corrected by supplementation, and can only be treated by injection, so it seems to me that worrying about ingesting supplements isn't going to do any good for people who can't absorb it anyway. And this goes for omnis, even more than for vegetarians and vegans, because there are more of them, and they get it in spite of eating "natural" B12.



I think there is a lot about it that we don't really understand, and it makes no intuitive sense to me that the body, in its wisdom, would manufacture a vital nutrient in an area where the body can't absorb and make use of it. This sounds to me like the kind of medical "theory" that also insists that the tonsils and appendix serve no purpose.

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#28 Old 01-02-2009, 10:47 PM
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as for b12 tho, the reason you dont need a supplement is that its fortified in SO many foods. for instance, if you eat cereals with any kind of regularity, as b12 is fortified in basically every cereal ive come across, you are amply suplied - it's a non issue. if anything the b12 issue is just an anti vegan propoganda tool. it's also in a plethora of other foods, im sure a quick google search would provide you with a list.

I would never ever advise anyone to trust some random products like some brand of cereals for their B-12 needs.



I think it's best to eat a supplement just in case, but if you (the general you) for some reason want to rely only on fortified foods, then make sure that they are the kind of foods that are fortified with vegans specially in mind. Like some brands of soy milk are fortified with B-12.



Quote:
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right, and is there any data suggesting vegans suffer b12 deficiency moreso than the non vegan population?

What does it matter? Assuming that most vegans do not want to suffer neurological damage and thus make sure they get their B-12 from somewhere, they won't have B-12 deficiency. This goes no way towards establishing your view, which is the irresponsible "don't worry about it".

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#29 Old 01-03-2009, 03:55 AM
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right, and is there any data suggesting vegans suffer b12 deficiency moreso than the non vegan population?



Quote:
Summary: Vegan adults who do not supplement with vitamin B12 tend have lower serum B12 levels than non-vegetarians. They sometimes have higher Mean Corpuscular Volume and MMA levels. They sometimes have overt B12 deficiency symptoms. These charactiristics increase the longer one is on a vegan diet. Vegans who supplement their diets with vitamin B12 tend to have serum B12 levels in the normal range, but could stand to increase them to 350 - 405 pg/ml to ensure healthy homocysteine levels and reduce DNA damage.



From this source.



And from this one which is a PDF so I can't cut and paste, but look at the section on B12 for more info:



Quote:
Studies indicate that some vegans and other vegetarians do not regularly consume reliable sources of vitamin B-12 and that is reflected in less than adequate vitamin B-12 status.

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#30 Old 01-03-2009, 05:50 AM
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how many vegans have b12 deficiency?

Enough to make it a problem.



Quote:
but i do think its a propoganda tool, if ever theres a radio debate about meat, people will come on (who are anti vegan/vegetarian pro meat) saying we lack calcium, protein, b12, etc. when these are all myths.

Unfortunately, there are many uneducated vegans who think they don't need to supplement and "just eat a balanced diet" when they have no clue what a balanced diet is who provide legitimacy to these morons.



Quote:
i just checked my cereals, it's in shreddies, rice crispies and corn flakes of the ones i have. so if you have a bowl of those with soymilk (also +b12), even once a week i'd think youre more than supplied. the amount you need to intake is TINY.

That statement just reveals your lack of education on the issue. If you rely entirely on fortified foods, you should eat those fortified foods in sufficient quantities twice every day. (See http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/rec .) Because of the way B12 absorption works, it's only when you get really large amounts of the vitamin that a weekly refill could possibly be sufficient. Such large amounts are simply not found in any fortified food, only in supplements.



And "tiny" is a relative term.

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