Being Vocal About What Works

A more encouraging way to think of Effective Altruism

Aaron Mayer
6 min readMay 8, 2021

[Originally posted on Substackcross-posted on the EA Forum]

I’ve been a vegetarian (nearly vegan) for 6 years.

As veteran vegetarians (vetereginarians?) know, vitamin B12 isn’t really found in plants, and so people who don’t eat animals are often deficient in this important nutrient.

I’m not exactly sure how this information eluded me for all this time, but I only found out about the whole B12 thing a few months ago…

An EA friend of mine gently told me “Aaron, I’m really glad you’re a vegetarian, but that means you gotta take B12 supplements.”

He told this to me out of a good natured desire to help me. He knew something about health and wellbeing that I didn’t know, and he told me about B12 because he likes me and wants what’s best for me.

We do this for our friends all time.

If we stumble on a wellness routine that improves our health and happiness, we (rightly) evangelize it to others.

The same is true of book recommendations, restaurant suggestions, and a litany of other areas in which we give advice to our friends — not pejoratively or paternalistically, but from a desire to see our friends flourish.

However, I’ve noticed that not all advice is not readily shared.