• Is the Vampire Diet Healthy?

    by  • October 16, 2017 • Fiction • 0 Comments

    An essay by Dr. A. Cula and A. B. Positive
    Reprinted from Hemophagy Today
    Brought to our attention by E. B. Fischadler
    Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye


    For some time now, ballooning baby boomers, ever expanding gen-xers, self-absorbed millennials, and others have been obsessed with various diets such as the Atkins diet, the carbo diet, and the paleo diet. Many of these are aimed at improving health through weight loss or by avoiding food components believed to be harmful to health. Last Monday morning, after taking his daughter to see Twilight, a movie about modern day vampires, a colleague asked if the vampire diet is healthy. Could a vampire subsist entirely on human blood? Several species, including leeches, vampire bats, and many insects subsist on a diet consisting entirely of blood. But could vampires?

    At first, it might appear that vampires, as a group, have significant health problems. They are all extremely pallid, suffer photophobia,[1] and speak with strange accents. On the other hand, examples of vampires living for centuries appear in the literature.[2] The literature also suggests that people, particularly attractive females with a normal life expectancy, become immortal upon switching to a blood diet.[3] So it is possible that a diet of human blood contributes to long life with some undesirable side effects.

    Variety

    One hallmark of a good diet is variety. It is well established that a diet consisting entirely of a single food will result in malnutrition, unless boredom kills the dieter first. While a blood diet might seem to include no variety whatsoever, there are in fact, eight varieties of blood based on the content of certain proteins: Type A, B, O, and AB, and each type has two subtypes: Rh positive and Rh negative. In addition, there are blue bloods, truebloods, halfbloods, warm-blooded lovers, and cold-blooded murderers. Strauss, the waltz king, even wrote a piece about the blood diet.[4] Thus, the blood diet does offer significant variety.

    Mineral and Nutrient Content

    The blood diet is certainly high in iron. Ironically, while iron is generally accepted as the cause for sanguine appearance,[5] those on a blood diet are extremely pale. Arterial blood also carries nutrients to cells throughout the body.

    Toxins in Blood

    Venous blood carries waste products from the cells to the  kidneys, which dispose of them. Thus, there is a potential for a blood diet to be high in toxins. Cholesterol is also transported in the blood. Thus, a vampire who is careless in their selection of hosts could be prone to cardiac issues. It should be noted that there are no examples in the literature of vampires succumbing to heart disease.

    Tasting Notes

    The waste products and toxins carried by venous blood lend it a flavor distinctly different from arterial blood. Arterial blood, with its high oxygen and nutrient content, has a bright flavor, likened by at least one expert to a Pinot Noir.[6] Venous blood, with its lower oxygen content, and increased carbon dioxide and waste products, has been compared to a Cabernet that has been allowed to sit too long.

    Because blood carries so many nutrients and waste products, its flavor is strongly influenced by the diet of the donor. For example, vampires generally avoid donors from certain groups who favor garlic in their food. One author (Dr. Cula) always served his donors a carefully planned dinner to ensure good taste when he later dined on their blood.

    It would seem that blood taken from various points in the circulatory system would have distinctly different tastes. Blood taken from the pulmonary vein should have a high oxygen content and low carbon dioxide, whereas blood taken from the veins leaving the kidneys should be free of urea, thus losing its bitterness. The liver removes several waste products from the blood, thus blood leaving the liver should have a different taste from blood entering the liver. The spleen’s function is to remove old and damaged red blood cells from the blood. Thus blood leaving the spleen is likely preferable to that entering the spleen.

    Elevated white blood cell counts have a significant impact on the taste of blood; just ask anyone who has tasted pus. The donor’s health is a significant consideration in selecting a source of dinner.

    Preference for Arterial Blood

    Currently, the preferred source of blood seems to be the jugular vein. The prior paragraphs suggest arteries are a superior source of dietary blood. The good stuff is carried to the cells in arterial blood. The bad stuff is carried away from the cells in venous blood. It is our recommendation that practitioners of the blood diet source their blood from arteries whenever possible. The carotid artery, immediately adjacent to the jugular, should be preferred over the jugular vein. However, as the carotid is deeper in the neck and thus more difficult to access, venous blood makes up the diet of most vampires.

    Preferred Source

    We are all familiar with the stock image of the vampire biting his donor on the neck, presumably sourcing dinner from the jugular vein. With a slight modification of the incisors[7] and an adjustment to feeding technique, blood from the carotid artery can be sourced in an equally romantic fashion. For the more practically minded diner, other sources may be more suitable. The femoral artery is shallower than the carotid, but may be an unseemly source of food due to its close proximity to certain bodily functions. The radial artery is a suitable replacement for the carotid. It is shallow, thus easily accessible, and being located on the wrist allows the vampire to give the appearance of a continental kissing the hand of his beloved as he dines.

    As a Cooking Ingredient

    Several recipes call for fresh blood, for example, Yorkshire pudding. This classic recipe is favored by vampires with leftovers from the prior day’s harvest replacing bovine blood. Other specialties include (type) AB gravy, whose unique flavor is said to result from use of only one blood type. Certain traditions call for draining all the blood from an animal before preparing it as a meal. Humans are the only predators to do so–could they be missing out on something?

    Art for "Is the Vampire Diet Healthy?"

    Posing as a blood bank, they gather blood from healthy donors, type it, and classify the blood according to taste. Some of their better known products include blood pudding and blutwurst, while their bar features several variations on the Bloody Mary.

    Delicacy

    It has come to our attention that some recent converts to the vampire way of life remain a bit squeamish about attacking the living for sustenance. A specialty purveyor of fine food, the Bloody Mess Hall,[8] has established a food service for blood dieters. Posing as a blood bank, they gather blood from healthy donors, type it, and classify the blood according to taste. Some of their better known products include blood pudding and blutwurst, while their bar features several variations on the Bloody Mary. They set aside the blood of certain individuals for Kosher vampires. For others with special dietary needs, the Bloody Mess Hall can provide iron deficient blood, blue blood, and sacrificial blood for religious holidays.

    For Collectors

    In his forthcoming book, Vampire Bites: A Pain in the Neck, one author (Cula) discusses the challenges and rewards of maintaining a collection of blood, much as oenophiles[9] collect bottles of wine. He discusses the relative merits of various anti-clotting agents and proper aging techniques. Coumadin works well, he says, but imparts a distinct “ratty” taste. The venom of the sea snake works well, but may be too salty for some tastes. There is also an extensive discussion of proper sourcing. Expired blood from blood banks for example, has a distinct note of “barnyard,” familiar to wine tasters.[10] One might expect royal blood to be especially preferred, as bloodlines are carefully maintained in most monarchies. Cula points out that many such lines are flawed; for example, one well-known European bloodline is fraught with hemophilia. While this does not directly affect the consumer, it does give the blood a rather thin mouth feel.

    Conclusion

    It appears that a diet consisting entirely of blood is adequate in some cases. Whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks is unclear. Hemophages are immortal, but as they must avoid sunlight, they miss most important events in their families’ lives. For example, it wouldn’t do to die in the middle of your daughter’s outdoor wedding.

    It has been shown that a blood diet does offer variety in both type and taste. The source of a blood diet is a major contributor to taste and nutritional value and must be carefully selected and prepared.

    I’d like to have you for dinner–interested?

    ~

    NOTES:

    [1] Photophobia is defined as the fear of light. Perhaps a better description might be solarphobia or diurnophobia, as vampires dread daylight and do just fine by candlelight.

    [2] Stoker, B., Dracula.

    [3] More importantly, they keep their good looks and change their attire to diaphonous gowns.

    [4] “Wiener Blut,” literally Viennese Blood. In particular, listen to the version recorded by the King’s Singers.

    [5] Look at the guy who appears on a bottle of Beefeater gin.

    [6] H. Lector, “Tasty Friends for Dinner”, Wine Spectator.

    [7] “The Cutting Edge: Dental Improvements to Vampire Incisors,” in preparation.

    [8] They do take out–call ahead: Transylvania 6-5000.

    [9] Seriously, oenophiles? That can’t be how it’s spelled.

    [10] OK you win, it’s oenophiles. But I’m never going to use that word again.


    Dr. A. Cula is a physician certified in phlebotomy and vascular surgery. He is often confused with a Romanian Count.

    A. B. Positive is a highly receptive individual coming from a long bloodline.


    E. B. Fischadler has been writing short stories for several years, and has recently begun publishing. His stories have appeared in Mad Scientist Journal, Bewildering Stories, eFiction, Voluted Tales, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, and Beyond Science Fiction. In addition to fiction, Fischadler has published over 30 papers in refereed scientific journals, as well as a chapter of a textbook on satellite engineering. When he is not writing, he pursues a career in engineering and serves his community as an EMT. Fischadler continues to write short stories and is working on a novel about a naval surgeon. You can learn more about Fischadler and access his other publications at: https://ebfischadler.wordpress.com/


    Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at www.scarlettohairdye.com.


    “Is the Vampire Diet Healthy?” is © 2017 E. B. Fischadler
    Art accompanying story is © 2017 Scarlett O’Hairdye

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *