Vegetarian and Vegan FAQ - Why do you think people say they are veg*n when they aren't?




SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 12:50 AM
Veg*n means "vegan" and "vegetarian", for those who aren't familiar with the term. ;)

So, here is what I am pondering...

If I had a dime for every time someone said "I am vegetarian but I eat *" (insert non-vegetarian item here, such as fish and sea creatures, gelatin, poultry etc.) or "I am vegan but I eat *" (insert non vegan item here, such as honey, eggs, dairy etc.) I would be VERY wealthy indeed! :dizzy:

What are some of the reasons you think people say these things, when the definitions for these terms are readily available?

The terms "vegan and "vegetarian" have these standard definitions:

Vegan:

A person who abstains from eating and using all animal products (eggs, cheese, honey, gelatin, leather etc.).

Vegetarian:

A person who does not eat any animals (fish, fowl, bovine, gelatin etc.).


Taurie
07-09-2008, 02:55 AM
they should really just say... "my diet is mostly vegan/vegetarian"
or maybe those things they eat that don't adhere to the meaning of the diet are eaten on occasion instead of daily.

They probably say it as an ideal, but can live up to it.

betsysunqueen
07-09-2008, 03:11 AM
Their desire to be thought of as a certain type of person is stronger than their desire to actually BE that type of person.


mandalinn82
07-09-2008, 03:35 AM
Merriam Webster doesn't include not wearing leather or animal products in the primary definition of vegan, so that distinction is, I think, a bit fuzzy.

As for the other distinctions, I think its less trying to be something that you're not than not having adequate words to describe what you are. The words "Vegetarian" and "Vegan" aren't merit badges, earned by those who follow them exactly. They are descriptions of eating plans that are sometimes, though not necessarily, associated with certain philosophies.

For lack of a better descriptor, people go to familiar words, then modify those words, with their commonly understood meanings, to fit what they are trying to convey. Someone who says "I'm a vegetarian, except I eat fish" is making clear what they eat - no meat, except fish. Saying "I'm an omnivore" wouldn't convey the same meaning.

Sunrose
07-09-2008, 06:17 AM
Their desire to be thought of as a certain type of person is stronger than their desire to actually BE that type of person.

Why would anyone care if they were "thought of" as that way or not? If they cared about that, then they wouldn't add the "...but I eat..." part.

Fat Chick B Gone
07-09-2008, 07:02 AM
I have no clue why but it annoys me to no end. I'm shocked by the Miriam Webster definition as there is no fuzziness in the vegan community as to what vegan is. You DO NOT use animals or their products in anyway. However there is confusion if you've not been introduced to it. I get the "but you eat fish right?" enough times a day to make me want to carry the definiton of animal around in my pocket.
However if you know enough to be mostly vegetarian or vegan then you know what you need to do to be one. I really think some believe it gives you superpowers and strive to be one or the other but don't go the extra tiny steps it takes to actually be what they strive to be.

broadabroad
07-09-2008, 07:59 AM
Well, in honesty I'd hazard a guess that different people have different reasons for saying "I'm a vegetarian/vegan except I eat..." - I mean, it may well be a case of wanting to sound caring/sharing/environmentally friendly whilst being reluctant to give up all animal products, for some people.

But I think for a lot of people, it's simply the quickest way of describing the food they eat. ****, if given a choice I sometimes tick 'vegetarian' on menus for things, simply because I love ALL vegetables, but with meat I can be a bit funny. Sometimes I can enjoy it, and sometimes I am acutely conscious that it's a corpse and it makes me want to hurl.

I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a vegetarian, but my mum and my sister have at times used various phrases like 'neo-vegetarian' or 'semi-vegetarian' or other clumsy madeup things to explain to meat-eating people what they eat. (what they mostly eat, for preference, being veggies, fish, dairy and poultry.) It's an easy shorthand if someone has to worry about feeding you - rather than giving them a list of all the things you will or won't eat, you can go with 'vegetarian! But I'll eat chicken or fish.'

I can understand how this could be irritating to people who ARE vegan or vegetarian, especially since it has an impact upon strangers' expectations of what they will be happy to eat. And because it's so often a moral choice, and from that POV somebody appearing to allign themselves with your dietary habits and then saying 'Oh, but I'll eat fish' is missing the point of what vegetarianism means to you. But to them it's being used as a shorthand, I think. If one is NOT part of a larger vegan or vegetarian community, but chooses to eschew some meat products for whatever reason, it's a little difficult to explain one's picky eating gracefully, and this is a quick way of explaining what you DO eat, rather than what you don't eat.

Fat Chick B Gone
07-09-2008, 08:18 AM
Fay that was well-said. It doesn't annoy be because hey if people are cutting back on meat/dairy/eggs it's better then nothing BUT it does create so much confusion when going out to eat/others homes/etc.

Suzanne 3FC
07-09-2008, 08:56 AM
I really like and appreciate Amanda's response :)

I pick up and read every package carefully to make sure it doesn't contain any form of animal product. I quiz restaurant staff when placing my orders. I lecture friends and family on the brutalities of the industrialized meat industry, as well as how it greatly contributes to global warming. I've reached a point where I physically gag when I smell meat cooking and have to mentally prepare myself before going family dinners or some restaurants.

But I will never, ever be able to say that I am a vegetarian. I take fish oil capsules. I've weighed the pros and cons of plant based vs fish based omega oils and how our bodies utilize them, and I have made the decision that for my current health and heart condition, I need fish oil. Period. So there you go, I'm not a vegetarian and I guess I never will be.

http://www-tc.pbs.org/independentlens/politicaldrseuss/images/film_sneetches.jpg

nelie
07-09-2008, 09:34 AM
I think it makes life difficult for vegetarians when those that aren't vegetarian say they are. I have heard it from many people where they say "I know vegetarians who eat [fish, poultry, other meat products]". So those who don't eat any meat products have to be very explicit because of people who call themselves vegetarians but aren't.

I do consider myself vegetarian at this point but I have never said that to anyone. I tell people I don't eat meat products or dairy or eggs. My ideal is to follow a vegan diet but I do admit that there have been some slips here and there with products that have small amounts of dairy in them.

Oh forgot to add that I would prefer if selective meat eaters would say something like "The only meat I eat is..." or something but I think the disambiguity has been started and will remain with us. Of course 20 years ago or so, the definition of vegetarian was someone who didn't eat animal products but it got changed to mean someone who may eat eggs or dairy and now it is changing again to mean any number of things due to those that use it.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 09:50 AM
You know, I should have kept my original post the way I really wanted it. I edited it because I wanted to be very gentle with my words.

More often then not, people don't come right out and say "I am veg*n but I eat *", they say they are veg*n then they just eat things that aren't veg*n.

Merriam Webster doesn't include not wearing leather or animal products in the primary definition of vegan, so that distinction is, I think, a bit fuzzy.

I included the source for the word "vegan" in my original post and then I edited it. I guess I should have left it! :lol:

The term "vegan" was coned by Donald Watson in 1944. The term described a lifestyle *and* a philosophy of "least harm". This was when the first British vegan society was formed.

The American Vegan Society was founded in 1960, publishing "Ahimsa" which is a Sanskrit word that means "not causing harm" and "reverence for life."

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 09:56 AM
I think it makes life difficult for vegetarians when those that aren't vegetarian say they are. I have heard it from many people where they say "I know vegetarians who eat [fish, poultry, other meat products]". So those who don't eat any meat products have to be very explicit because of people who call themselves vegetarians but aren't. Yes, this is true.

Mini rant: Fish is "meat", it is flesh! It's not in the plant kingdom!!! :dizzy: I don't understand why people don't accept that simple scientific fact.

I do consider myself vegetarian at this point but I have never said that to anyone. I tell people I don't eat meat products or dairy or eggs. My ideal is to follow a vegan diet but I do admit that there have been some slips here and there with products that have small amounts of dairy in them.An accidental ingestion happens to everyone who doesn't prepare each and every thing they eat. I am curious as to why you wouldn't call yourself vegetarian (or, more accurately, vegan) if that truly reflects your lifestyle and dietary choices.

I know some people don't want to be associated with a "movement" OR any "controversy", so they don't use labels.

Oh forgot to add that I would prefer if selective meat eaters would say something like "The only meat I eat is..." or something but I think the disambiguity has been started and will remain with us.

Hey, I use the term "selective omnivores" too! :)

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 09:59 AM
Why would anyone care if they were "thought of" as that way or not? If they cared about that, then they wouldn't add the "...but I eat..." part.

Yeah, people don't often word it that way, really. It's actually easier to deal with when they term it that way, because there's a "qualifier"!

It's usually more like: "I'm veg*n." Then you notice they eat KFC or Red Lobster animals and products etc. :lol:

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 10:02 AM
I can understand how this could be irritating to people who ARE vegan or vegetarian, especially since it has an impact upon strangers' expectations of what they will be happy to eat. And because it's so often a moral choice, and from that POV somebody appearing to allign themselves with your dietary habits and then saying 'Oh, but I'll eat fish' is missing the point of what vegetarianism means to you. But to them it's being used as a shorthand, I think. If one is NOT part of a larger vegan or vegetarian community, but chooses to eschew some meat products for whatever reason, it's a little difficult to explain one's picky eating gracefully, and this is a quick way of explaining what you DO eat, rather than what you don't eat.This sums up a couple of issues and perspectives in relation to this topic VERY well. ;)

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 10:03 AM
I have no clue why but it annoys me to no end. I'm shocked by the Miriam Webster definition as there is no fuzziness in the vegan community as to what vegan is. You DO NOT use animals or their products in anyway. However there is confusion if you've not been introduced to it. I get the "but you eat fish right?" enough times a day to make me want to carry the definiton of animal around in my pocket.
However if you know enough to be mostly vegetarian or vegan then you know what you need to do to be one. I really think some believe it gives you superpowers and strive to be one or the other but don't go the extra tiny steps it takes to actually be what they strive to be.

Yes!!! :lol: Fabulous post!!! :hug: I relate! :carrot:

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 10:04 AM
they should really just say... "my diet is mostly vegan/vegetarian"

I think that would serve their purpose and the veg*ns as well!

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 10:05 AM
Their desire to be thought of as a certain type of person is stronger than their desire to actually BE that type of person.

Well, when it's "distilled", what's left is that, for whatever reason that may be.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 10:11 AM
I really like and appreciate Amanda's response :)

I pick up and read every package carefully to make sure it doesn't contain any form of animal product. I quiz restaurant staff when placing my orders. I lecture friends and family on the brutalities of the industrialized meat industry, as well as how it greatly contributes to global warming. I've reached a point where I physically gag when I smell meat cooking and have to mentally prepare myself before going family dinners or some restaurants.

But I will never, ever be able to say that I am a vegetarian. I take fish oil capsules. I've weighed the pros and cons of plant based vs fish based omega oils and how our bodies utilize them, and I have made the decision that for my current health and heart condition, I need fish oil. Period. So there you go, I'm not a vegetarian and I guess I never will be.

http://www-tc.pbs.org/independentlens/politicaldrseuss/images/film_sneetches.jpg

I LOVE the Sneeches pic!!!

I GET it and am not trying to cause a "division" or incite any "derision". :)

Suzanne, not that my opinion matters ultimately, but I just wanted to point out that many consider a person taking a necessary supplement/medication that may not be veg*n to *still* BE veg*n, because otherwise, where would they be?

A diabetic needs to take their medication, and no suitable alternative to a product containing animal products is available.

When a medication/supplement is needed to SURVIVE and be healthy, it needs to be taken!!!

:hug:

PhotoChick
07-09-2008, 10:22 AM
I'm NOT veg'n of any kind.

But it annoys the ever living *#@*$^ out of me when someone says "I'm vegetarian but I eat ... [insert animal here]".

Then, sweetie, you're not a vegetarian.

I ate mostly veggie when I was in college because my roommate was veggie and it was easier (and cheaper) for us to eat the same meals together. The only time I ate meat was when I ate out. So I'm very familiar with the veggie lifestyle and with veggie foods (which I love and can cook pretty well, if I do say so myself).

I know it can be hard to say "I don't eat ..." and then list a bunch of foods, but I do feel it's more honest.

Then again, I'm a big believer in the power of words and in using the right word with the right meaning when you communicate. Some people might call it playing semantics or hair splitting, but I just like people who are precise. :)

.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 10:25 AM
Then again, I'm a big believer in the power of words and in using the right word with the right meaning when you communicate. Some people might call it playing semantics or hair splitting, but I just like people who are precise. :)

.

Wow! That is 100% me!!! ;) I like precision, accuracy and logic.

Suzanne 3FC
07-09-2008, 10:58 AM
I like the new term "Flexitarian" - A person who usually eats a plant based diet, but occasionally makes an exception.

yoyonomoreinvegas
07-09-2008, 11:04 AM
This has been a very enlightening post. I don't normally visit this thread but I'm glad I read this one.

As a non-veggie, I have always assumed (and we all know what they say about "assume" so I should have known better :D ) that there was a difference between *vegetarian* and *vegan*. That being that a vegetarian would consume animal products such as eggs and milk - just not flesh or organs (which actually does sound pretty ewwey when put that way), whereas a vegan would not use any animal products whatsoever.

I also have to admit to being guilty of going along blithely thinking that *seafood* didn't qualify as *meat* (doh, slaps forehead :o ) so it never bothered me if an acquaintance who claimed to be vegetarian ordered fish when we ate out. Maybe people who have chosen to avoid meat from land animals for health reasons only should start calling themselves *veggie-piscatarians* to avoid the confusion ;)

Thank you for giving me a much better insight into the vegetarian/vegan point of view :)

KLK
07-09-2008, 11:29 AM
Eh... a lot of people, including the Catholic Church, don't consider fish "meat" (hence you can eat it on Friday's during Lent).

For about 4 years, I was a strict vegetarian -- no meat, no fish, no creatures of any kind, be they of land, sea or sky. I was never vegan, however. MOST of my decision to eat this way came out of concern for the animals and disgust with the factory farm system. When my fiance arrived in the US, I began to "open" what I would eat a bit -- he LOVES fish (much more than red meat/poultry) and fish was the "meat" that I missed the most. Eventually, I started eating it a bit as well. Occasionally. My diet is still 90% plant-based, aside from dairy. But if we are at a restaurant and the shrimp looks good and I really want it, I will have it. If we go to his aunt's house and she makes fish, I will have a piece. But I won't eat her lamb kebab.

I do still consider myself vegetarian, I would describe myself that way and I don't always tack on "but I do sometimes have some fish" to the end of it bc the assumption is usually, "OMG SHE EATS FISH MAKE HER FISH!" even when I'd be more than happy with vegetables and/or tofu.

I have a lot of vegetarian/vegan friends and I've seen them be EXTREMELY fascist ab the labelling -- this one friend professed to being vegan and then, i think, someone 'caught' him putting milk in his coffee once (no soy milk available) and he got in "trouble" with the other vegans, accused of hypocrisy and worse. Not exactly kind or compassionate.

I don't think these things need to be so strict or so black and white. Labels are often just convenient ways to describe something -- for the most part -- without annoying others with the exact particulars of a person's character and habits.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 11:38 AM
I like the new term "Flexitarian" - A person who usually eats a plant based diet, but occasionally makes an exception.

:^: Oh, I don't like it at all, and none of my veg*n friends do either, because it isn't clearly defined...Is an omnivore who has hummus and pita as a snack a "flexitarian"? I mean, there are very few people who ONLY eat animal products.

If "flexitarian" were TRULY a term to describe a mostly plant-based diet with an occasional foray into animal products that would be one thing, but more often than not, it's just another label for a "selective omnivore" (which is great, being selective and incorporating more plant-based meals is good for everyone!) and describes an omnivore who occasionally eats veg*n (which is just about EVERY omnivore, so why create a new label?).

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 11:52 AM
Thanks for an interesting discussion, all! ;)

Eh... a lot of people, including the Catholic Church, don't consider fish "meat" (hence you can eat it on Friday's during Lent).

Well, Spirituality and Religion aside, the reality is, that a fish is in the animal kingdom, is made of flesh and bleeds. It's "meat" in every logical and true sense of the word. :^: They aren't "mammals" but they are animals.


I don't think these things need to be so strict or so black and white. Labels are often just convenient ways to describe something -- for the most part -- without annoying others with the exact particulars of a person's character and habits.
On the flip side, it's "annoying" to say the least to be served animals and animal products because someone using a universal label incorrectly eats "*" (insert non-veg*n item here).

The term "vegan" was a label created with the intent of describing a person who adhered to a certain philosophy and lifestyle that included dietary choices.

There's nothing "convenient" about others misusing labels that result in veg*ns being offered things that aren't veg*n, because of the common misconception has been fed that "other veg*ns eat it".

PhotoChick
07-09-2008, 11:56 AM
I don't think these things need to be so strict or so black and white. Labels are often just convenient ways to describe something -- for the most part -- without annoying others with the exact particulars of a person's character and habits.
The problem is that I totally disagree with this. :) (cordially, I hope you know).

When we start saying that a label is just a convenience and shouldn't be held to a solid definition, then why have a label at all. What's the MEANING of a word if the attitude is "oh, well that word can mean whatever you want it to mean when it's convenient".

What if you told me that you were allergic to shellfish and I served shrimp. You would say "but i told you I was allergic" and my response would be "oh, I don't consider shrimp to be shellfish - that's just a label." ;)

See the point? If language isn't precise, then it has no value as language. If it's just a "guideline" or "convenience" then there's a lack of communication. I especially feel it's important on message boards, in email, in chat, etc. - where we can't see language cues like facial expression, body language, and so forth. It's even more important that your language be carefully chosen and PRECISE AND ACCURATE ... otherwise, who are you really communicating with?

.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 11:57 AM
I am glad you visited this thread too. :carrot:

This has been a very enlightening post. I don't normally visit this thread but I'm glad I read this one.

As a non-veggie, I have always assumed (and we all know what they say about "assume" so I should have known better :D ) that there was a difference between *vegetarian* and *vegan*. That being that a vegetarian would consume animal products such as eggs and milk - just not flesh or organs (which actually does sound pretty ewwey when put that way), whereas a vegan would not use any animal products whatsoever.

Well, you are RIGHT!!! ;) You've got the definitions down. :) There are many types of vegetarians: lacto, lacto-ovo, ovo, strict (those that eat vegan only food but don't eliminate all animal products such as leather or honey) and vegan (already defined as one who eschews all animal products in diet and lifestyle choices).

I also have to admit to being guilty of going along blithely thinking that *seafood* didn't qualify as *meat* (doh, slaps forehead :o ) so it never bothered me if an acquaintance who claimed to be vegetarian ordered fish when we ate out. Maybe people who have chosen to avoid meat from land animals for health reasons only should start calling themselves *veggie-piscatarians* to avoid the confusion ;)

Thank you for giving me a much better insight into the vegetarian/vegan point of view :)Some people do call themselves "pescetarian" when they eat fish and sea creatures but no other meat/flesh.

mandalinn82
07-09-2008, 12:02 PM
Vegan had no meaning, until it was coined. Perhaps "Flexitarian" just needs to be established to have that meaning you described, so people who are in this "I eat mostly one way, with small exceptions" situation can have a way to express what they're eating without using words that have different meanings and modifying them.

The term "Vegan" is relatively new, given language evolution. Certainly if we give "Flexitarian" enough time, the meaning will become clear and well known.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 12:04 PM
The problem is that I totally disagree with this. :) (cordially, I hope you know).

When we start saying that a label is just a convenience and shouldn't be held to a solid definition, then why have a label at all. What's the MEANING of a word if the attitude is "oh, well that word can mean whatever you want it to mean when it's convenient".

What if you told me that you were allergic to shellfish and I served shrimp. You would say "but i told you I was allergic" and my response would be "oh, I don't consider shrimp to be shellfish - that's just a label." ;)

See the point? If language isn't precise, then it has no value as language. If it's just a "guideline" or "convenience" then there's a lack of communication. I especially feel it's important on message boards, in email, in chat, etc. - where we can't see language cues like facial expression, body language, and so forth. It's even more important that your language be carefully chosen and PRECISE AND ACCURATE ... otherwise, who are you really communicating with?

.Yes, yes, YES!

Again, you are speaking my language!!! :D I am so glad to have your input here, especially since you aren't veg*n, because it's the principle of the thing, ya know? It's not about causing a division on a hierarchy (I'm not a snobby Sneech!!!) it's about being accurate so that there's consistency, so that others have an easier time being understood and having their needs met.

Next subject:

In regards to the entire thread, and because I feel the need for a disclaimer is building...I truly wish everyone the best on their own path to wellness, health and with eating whatever works best for YOU as an individual, be it animal, vegetable or mineral. :)

3Beans
07-09-2008, 12:18 PM
Well, in honesty I'd hazard a guess that different people have different reasons for saying "I'm a vegetarian/vegan
I can understand how this could be irritating to people who ARE vegan or vegetarian, especially since it has an impact upon strangers' expectations of what they will be happy to eat. And because it's so often a moral choice, and from that POV somebody appearing to allign themselves with your dietary habits and then saying 'Oh, but I'll eat fish' is missing the point of what vegetarianism means to you. But to them it's being used as a shorthand, I think. If one is NOT part of a larger vegan or vegetarian community, but chooses to eschew some meat products for whatever reason, it's a little difficult to explain one's picky eating gracefully, and this is a quick way of explaining what you DO eat, rather than what you don't eat.

I totally agree. I was a strict vegetarian for 12 years. For the past 2 years I've been eating fish, but I'm quite picky about it (I could go on), and I'm also allergic to shellfish. Now, we're on a forum discussing this. But your average wait staff, friend of a friend hosting a dinner, whatever, may not want to have an extended chat about my food politics, and I'm not simply not going to profess that they should have no choice in the matter because 1) my beliefs are so important to everyone else or b) for the benefit of vegetarians and vegans the world over. Most people JUST DON'T CARE what YOU choose to eat or not eat.

I dismiss out of hand the idea that I'd ever call myself vegetarian to impress people. In fact, I'd question the motives of someone who reveres the label over the lifestyle. Who might you be trying to impress? Like someone else said, if more people are refusing to eat factory farmed meats, isn't that more important than whose calling themselves what? Would you prefer that I ditch the convenient label and become a typical consumer creating more environmental damage?



The problem is that I totally disagree with this. :) (cordially, I hope you know).

When we start saying that a label is just a convenience and shouldn't be held to a solid definition, then why have a label at all. What's the MEANING of a word if the attitude is "oh, well that word can mean whatever you want it to mean when it's convenient".

What if you told me that you were allergic to shellfish and I served shrimp. You would say "but i told you I was allergic" and my response would be "oh, I don't consider shrimp to be shellfish - that's just a label." ;)

See the point? If language isn't precise, then it has no value as language. If it's just a "guideline" or "convenience" then there's a lack of communication. I especially feel it's important on message boards, in email, in chat, etc. - where we can't see language cues like facial expression, body language, and so forth. It's even more important that your language be carefully chosen and PRECISE AND ACCURATE ... otherwise, who are you really communicating with?

.

I see what you mean, but when you're talking about people and beliefs, it's just not that simple. For example, I'm Jewish. What does that mean? Does that mean I eat a kosher diet? Does it mean I cover my hair? Does it mean I believe in God? Or that I'm a member of a particular cultural group? An Orthodox Jew would not consider me Jewish. Does that mean I can't use that label even if I identify as Jewish?

So what if after 12 years as a strict vegetarian, with a diet that is still 98% vegetarian and a preference for vegetarian proteins, I still identify as a vegetarian? Am I not allowed?

yoyonomoreinvegas
07-09-2008, 12:22 PM
In regards to the entire thread, and because I feel the need for a disclaimer is building...I truly wish everyone the best on their own path to wellness, health and with eating whatever works best for YOU as an individual, be it animal, vegetable or mineral. :)

I honestly think this has been one of the calmest discussions between people with different views that I've seen in a while :D It's very refreshing actually to simply *discuss* without any "oh no, you're wrong" language popping up. So thanks again for an interesting read :)

Suzanne 3FC
07-09-2008, 12:30 PM
I think it's hard to put a label on things because it makes it all so finite and limited. Most of us make these choices for individual and personal reasons which can vary widely. For me, it's all about the ethics of the industry and the effect on the environment. Vegetarians are open to eating eggs. Most veggies I know will buy eggs at the supermarket. I won't. I search out the only store in town that sells bona fide local free range eggs from happy bug-eating sun loving chickens. I would rather see someone eat an occasional steak from a cow that has been treated with respect instead of abuse, raised in the sunshine, eating grass and romping in the fields, than eat an egg from a chicken torture chamber.

KLK
07-09-2008, 12:32 PM
But in saying "I am vegetarian, except I eat fish" a person is clearing up any confusion -- their diet is vegetarian (all plant-based), except they eat some fish. The confusion would instead lie in not tempering "I am vegetarian" with something, even if they still eat chicken or fish or Brisket. The person who tacks on the "but..." is, imo, honoring the accepted idea about what vegetarian means, the accepted definition. But in general, I *DO* believe that most of the words we use to *label ourselves* are approximations, merely bc people are rarely so black and white and purely and completely anything.

I think this issue lies in how political the label "vegetarian/vegan" is... a lot of people (not necessarily aiming this at you, SoulBliss, this is based on other people I know) treat being vegetarian or vegan like a political party or religion -- no room for those who deviate from the accepted ideology. I've even seen vegans tear down other strict vegans because they're vegan for the "wrong reasons." According to this group, it's only acceptable to be vegan out of concern for animals and to fight the factory system, not simply bc you prefer it for your personal health or you don't like meat and dairy or whatever. It's akin to calling yourself a membr of a religious group even though you disagree with some aspects of it and being shunned by those that consider themselves orthodox or fundamental or whatever -- it can get THAT heated.

Yes, yes, YES!

Again, you are speaking my language!!! :D I am so glad to have your input here, especially since you aren't veg*n, because it's the principle of the thing, ya know? It's not about causing a division on a hierarchy (I'm not a snobby Sneech!!!) it's about being accurate so that there's consistency, so that others have an easier time being understood and having their needs met.

Next subject:

In regards to the entire thread, and because I feel the need for a disclaimer is building...I truly wish everyone the best on their own path to wellness, health and with eating whatever works best for YOU as an individual, be it animal, vegetable or mineral. :)

Suzanne 3FC
07-09-2008, 12:37 PM
I really don't care what people call themselves, and I'm not bothered by people that say they are vegetarian when they're not. It's just a word. I do care that people respect my personal limitations on what goes on my plate. I can't count how many times my own mother has said "you can have chicken broth as long as there's no chicken, can't you?" :lol:

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 12:42 PM
I really don't care what people call themselves, and I'm not bothered by people that say they are vegetarian when they're not. It's just a word. I do care that people respect my personal limitations on what goes on my plate. I can't count how many times my own mother has said "you can have chicken broth as long as there's no chicken, can't you?" :lol:

Here's the question though...Can you see that people calling them something they are not often results in personal limitations being disrespected or misunderstood?

Servers in restaurants almost ALWAYS suggest fish or sea creatures when I ask for "vegetarian" offerings and makes me question EVERYTHING about what they say and what ends up on my plate, because if they think actual flesh is "vegetarian", then what other misinformed views do they have? :(

kaplods
07-09-2008, 12:45 PM
I agree that there are many reasons a person might consider themselves to be a (whatever) where other people who consider themselves the same would disagree. I worked with a girl who considered herself Christian, but was sleeping unashamedly with her married boss, and took every opportunity to talk about it, bashing the (physically handicapped) wife. Yikes!


I'm not a veg*n, but I am a person who loves language and often want to convey precise meaning, and will invent words to do so, if I have to (or for some reason, can't access the existing term). I think that is what people are doing here. They don't have a word to describe what they are being asked to or are wishing to describe. Humans love to use verbal "shorthand" so unfortunately I think words and phrases such as "vegetarian, but..." or "flexitarian" are pretty much inevitable.

My MIL recently told us that she was "going vegetarian," and by that she meant she was going to eat meat much less frequently. I gave her the book "The Gradual Vegetarian" to introduce her to "real" vegetarianism, but in our area of the midwest, it's very common for people to be like the aunt in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," ("He doesn't eat MEAT?...... Ah, that ok, I make lamb.")

As a selective onmivore who has never been anything else, I have on occasion felt that I have offended someone (in their view) by masquerading as a vegetarian. A very bizarre incident in a health food store comes to mind, in which a woman assumed I was veg*n because I was buying tvp, and I was put in a spot where I felt obligated to correct her. I don't know why, but I left feeling that I had desecrated the store and the tvp bin (in her eyes) merely with my presence, and not sure whether I was "allowed" to shop there (crazy thought, and it passed).

When I've passed on my recipe (to other omnivores, I understand why a vegan would be horrified) for combining ground meat with tvp to create a mixture that is lower in calorie and fat and saves money, I sometimes get a reaction of horror, as if I'm mixing matter and antimatter and threatening the very existence of the universe by doing so. Even to those who have eaten soy meat products, the thought of mixing of the two is apparently quite disconcerting (if I had a nickel for every time someone asked, "you can do that?")

I want to say "of course... the risk of explosion is minimal if you know what you're doing."

As a person who has few moral objections to eating meat, I still find it astonishing how many fellow omnivores feel that a meal MUST contain meat (and usually a huge slab of it). Many are afraid to even try a vegetarian dish (at least unless you call it a side dish, rather than a maincourse). I think the term Flexitarian (or one like it) does help introduce the concept that a delicious meal does not have to have the huge slab o' meat at the center of it. In this modern world, this shouldn't be such a revolutionary concept, but I've found in entertaining friends and family, that it truly is. When I tell them there is no meat (at least not in the way they think of it) I've seen actual panic in people's eyes. It's a cultural thing (it's nearly impossible for my mom to try anything that doesn't closely resemble something she has eaten before).

Language is fluid and new words (of varying specificity) are constantly being created (even when the "old" ones would suffice). Our culture shapes our word choices, and our word choices shape out culture. I think the word "flexitarian" is both reflecting a change in attitudes, and also influencing the change in attitude about whether a meal "has to" contain meat (and how much).

KLK
07-09-2008, 12:45 PM
LOL -- me neither. Really, I got sick of the whole vegetarian/vegan badge of honor years ago -- the kind of vicious "fundamentalist" mentality that can at times surround the veg/vegan "movement" is a turn-off.

And yes, my mother has said similar things to me too. She once told me I could have chicken soup if I just eat around the hunks of chicken floating in there. Another time, she said I should partake in the pepperoni pizza -- just tear off the pepperoni. :lol:


I really don't care what people call themselves, and I'm not bothered by people that say they are vegetarian when they're not. It's just a word. I do care that people respect my personal limitations on what goes on my plate. I can't count how many times my own mother has said "you can have chicken broth as long as there's no chicken, can't you?" :lol:

PhotoChick
07-09-2008, 12:47 PM
Servers in restaurants almost ALWAYS suggest fish or sea creatures when I ask for "vegetarian" offerings and makes me question EVERYTHING about what they say and what ends up on my plate, because if they think actual flesh is "vegetarian", then what other misinformed views do they have?

Yeah, and this is why *I* have a problem with the "misuse" of the word, even though I'm not veggie of any kind. When the meaning of the word becomes so diluted, then it causes a problem in understanding.

I would venture to guess that's where the "you can have chicken broth" thing comes into play. If a person who calls herself a vegetarian says "oh but I eat fish" or "oh but I eat chicken" ... then that must mean that chicken broth is ok or fish broth is ok or shrimp are ok .. or whatever.

And so when you go to a restaurant or eat at a friend's house, you never know what you're getting ... because veggie no longer means veggie.

.

PhotoChick
07-09-2008, 12:51 PM
I worked with a girl who considered herself Christian, but was sleeping unashamedly with her married boss, and took every opportunity to talk about it, bashing the (physically handicapped) wife. Yikes!

Ah. But this a different thing, because it plays more towards people's outside perceptions of what a "christian" should be, rather than something that is firmly defined. One is a Christian if one believes in Christ as the Son of God. That's it. You can be a good Christian or a bad Christian (good and bad being relative - my Baptist grandma would say I was being a bad Christian if I drank wine, whereas my Catholic mother wouldn't have a problem with it). You can have an affair, lie cheat and steal, and still believe in Christ. Therefore you're a Christian.

But if you identify yourself as a veggie, but you eat meat .. then you're not a veggie.

That would be like saying "I'm a Christian, but I don't believe in Jesus."

.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 12:52 PM
But in saying "I am vegetarian, except I eat fish" a person is clearing up any confusion -- their diet is vegetarian (all plant-based), except they eat some fish. The confusion would instead lie in not tempering "I am vegetarian" with something, even if they still eat chicken or fish or Brisket. The person who tacks on the "but..." is, imo, honoring the accepted idea about what vegetarian means, the accepted definition.

Again, I altered my original post to make it "lighter" and in retrospect, should not have. Saying that one is "mostly veg*n" doesn't lead to as many issues as saying they *are* "veg*n" when they aren't. The bigger issue is people saying they are veg*n but then eating non veg*n things, as this leads to most of the confusion.

I think this issue lies in how political the label "vegetarian/vegan" is... a lot of people (not necessarily aiming this at you, SoulBliss, this is based on other people I know) treat being vegetarian or vegan like a political party or religion -- no room for those who deviate from the accepted ideology. I've even seen vegans tear down other strict vegans because they're vegan for the "wrong reasons." According to this group, it's only acceptable to be vegan out of concern for animals and to fight the factory system, not simply bc you prefer it for your personal health or you don't like meat and dairy or whatever. It's akin to calling yourself a membr of a religious group even though you disagree with some aspects of it and being shunned by those that consider themselves orthodox or fundamental or whatever -- it can get THAT heated.I see what you are saying and have to say that, in defense of some didactic veg*ns, it can be a sense of desperation about how the rest of the world doesn't "get it" that causes what looks like bizarre reactions in some. Veg*ns sometimes feel constantly assaulted by a world view that they can't wrap their heads around.

Personally, I feel that every time a person chooses to buy a green, less harmful, recycled, renewable item or products from a local farmer, grocer etc. it is a good thing indeed. Similarly, every time a person chooses to eat a plant based diet, it's good for them, good for the environment and good for the animals. I'd like for it to be a frequent or exclusive occurrence, but even if it's only once or twice a week, that is awesome and I support and applaud that wholeheartedly! :carrot: :carrot: :carrot:

KLK
07-09-2008, 12:55 PM
I understand what you're saying, but if you say, "I am vegetarian, except I eat fish" you've pretty defined, imo, what you will eat -- anything plant-based (unless you dislike it for other reasons) and fish. I don't see how that could be interpreted in a way that would suggest you would have a hamburger and chicken wings as well. I mean, I think that if you temper "vegetarian" with something specific, the meaning of vegetarian doesn't lose its precise definition. Your diet is still all plant-based, except for the fish you eat.


Yeah, and this is why *I* have a problem with the "misuse" of the word, even though I'm not veggie of any kind. When the meaning of the word becomes so diluted, then it causes a problem in understanding.

I would venture to guess that's where the "you can have chicken broth" thing comes into play. If a person who calls herself a vegetarian says "oh but I eat fish" or "oh but I eat chicken" ... then that must mean that chicken broth is ok or fish broth is ok or shrimp are ok .. or whatever.

And so when you go to a restaurant or eat at a friend's house, you never know what you're getting ... because veggie no longer means veggie.

.

3Beans
07-09-2008, 12:58 PM
Yeah, and this is why *I* have a problem with the "misuse" of the word, even though I'm not veggie of any kind. When the meaning of the word becomes so diluted, then it causes a problem in understanding.

I would venture to guess that's where the "you can have chicken broth" thing comes into play. If a person who calls herself a vegetarian says "oh but I eat fish" or "oh but I eat chicken" ... then that must mean that chicken broth is ok or fish broth is ok or shrimp are ok .. or whatever.

And so when you go to a restaurant or eat at a friend's house, you never know what you're getting ... because veggie no longer means veggie.

.

But then, to use the example I used earlier, should I either keep to a kosher diet or stop calling myself Jewish, so that I don't confuse people about what Jews eat? "Well, 3Beans eats leavened bread during Pesach, so what's YOUR problem, Rabbi?"

When we have dietary limitations, it is up to us to convey them when necessary. As someone said earlier there are many different types of vegetarians anyway. Without clarification, I may serve cheese to someone who isn't lacto. But I don't think I can blame that on someone who is lacto for misleading me. Right?

PhotoChick
07-09-2008, 01:06 PM
Quoting 2 different people here:

But then, to use the example I used earlier, should I either keep to a kosher diet or stop calling myself Jewish, so that I don't confuse people about what Jews eat? "Well, 3Beans eats leavened bread during Pesach, so what's YOUR problem, Rabbi?"
Ok, but Jewish is both cultural and religious. It's not meant to be *that* definitive. Even Christian is somewhat more definitive than Jew in the sense of having a fixed point of reference. If I drink wine, am I not a Christian? Well if I'm Baptist, I might be considered a bad Christian but I'm still a Christian because I believe in Christ, but if I'm Catholic, that's acceptable. Religious labels are a whole 'nother animal and I'm happy to discuss them, but I do think they're a red herring in this particular discussion. :)

Vegetarian is not a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs. It's a word with a very narrow defintion: a person who does not eat meat.


"I am vegetarian, except I eat fish" you've pretty defined, imo, what you will eat -- anything plant-based (unless you dislike it for other reasons) and fish. I don't see how that could be interpreted in a way that would suggest you would have a hamburger and chicken wings as well.

I think that if you temper "vegetarian" with something specific, the meaning of vegetarian doesn't lose its precise definition.
The problem there as I see it is that YOU have defined it for you. But the bottom line is that you AREN'T a veggie if you eat fish. You can call yourself one, but you're not completely a vegetarian. Just like I could *say* "I'm a Christian, but I don't believe in Christ." :)

(Disclaimer - I realized I've been following the religious analogy here and I just wanted to say that I'm *not* actually a Christian, although I was raised in the church. So I won't be offended by anything anyone wants to throw out there!) :)

PhotoChick
07-09-2008, 01:10 PM
Further disclaimer here - I'm enjoying the discussion and the exchange of opinions. I don't necessarily intend to sway anyone one way or the other ... I just like the discussion. :)

.

JulieJ08
07-09-2008, 01:11 PM
I like people to use a term correctly too. But don't assume that people who use it incorrectly are trying to put on airs. That would probably be overestimating the value most non-veg*ns put on being veg*an. There's a saying, never attribute to malice what can be explained by simple stupidity. Well, in this case I wouldn't call it stupidity. Most people who are not veg*an quite naturally don't have much knowledge about it or great concern over using the terms just so. They might be cutting back on meat for any number of reasons, but they aren't necessarily going after a whole different mindset and lifestyle. By all means help correct misconceptions. I think that's necessary. But don't assume the worst. It's just life. The general public is never going to be as particular about things that may be of great to concern to a smaller group within the population. More power to you :D

yoyonomoreinvegas
07-09-2008, 01:22 PM
I think it's hard to put a label on things because it makes it all so finite and limited. Most of us make these choices for individual and personal reasons which can vary widely. For me, it's all about the ethics of the industry and the effect on the environment. Vegetarians are open to eating eggs. Most veggies I know will buy eggs at the supermarket. I won't. I search out the only store in town that sells bona fide local free range eggs from happy bug-eating sun loving chickens. I would rather see someone eat an occasional steak from a cow that has been treated with respect instead of abuse, raised in the sunshine, eating grass and romping in the fields, than eat an egg from a chicken torture chamber.

Sometimes I think it can be a case of an (unintentional) lack of understanding of a situation. My MIL#2 does not eat meat or poultry, or wear leather, and like you, won't buy eggs unless she can find them certified free range but has always eaten fish, particularly salmon, without really thinking about where it came from. Until, that is, we took a tour of a salmon farm while on an Alaskan cruise a couple of years ago. She was utterly horrified and in tears thinking she had been being a hypocrite for so many years. Totally unintentional, she had just never realized that salmon could be farmed and always thought all salmon was caught by boats in the middle of the ocean.

Suzanne 3FC
07-09-2008, 01:48 PM
And yes, my mother has said similar things to me too. She once told me I could have chicken soup if I just eat around the hunks of chicken floating in there. Another time, she said I should partake in the pepperoni pizza -- just tear off the pepperoni. :lol:

Yeah, can't you just pick out the chicken? :lol: Well can I pick out their juice? blood? their screams? :shrug:

I guess I should just say I don't eat animal products, what's in this dish?

But what do I know. I'm wearing leather shoes.

KateB
07-09-2008, 01:58 PM
I have a slightly different angle on this "lable" issue.

My family calls me a veggie. I am not.

I choose not to eat read meat....99.9% of the time. In the summer once or twice I wll make a steak on the grill. In the winter beef stew or a pork roast might be on the menu a couple times throughout the season. We have a freezer full of red meat, we live on a farm and raise our own cows and pigs. The family eats them I don't. It is not a moral issue for me, it is more of a health issue.

I am also lactose intolerant. So I drink soy milk. I can tolerate yogurt and cheese in small portions. So they are an occasional part of my diet, in moderation.

My family thinks this makes me a veggie. That is where the issues start.

MIL gets angry because, I "WON'T EAT MEAT". So it is impossible to cook for me (in her words). Ummmm...make chicken. I never show up empty handed and usually make a salad or side with beans or another protien source so even if she made everything else with meat I wouldhave something I was comfortable eating. I also bring my own soy milk I don't expect her to have it on hand for me.

I never expect anyone to go out of thier way in preparing a meal for me. On the same note, if you are guest in my house, you will be served what I choose to cook. That could be a steak on the grill, or it could be meatless chili or tofu stir fry. If I know you are veggie or vegan or have an allergy I will certainly make sure I cook accordingly.

yoyonomoreinvegas
07-09-2008, 02:24 PM
Here's the question though...Can you see that people calling them something they are not often results in personal limitations being disrespected or misunderstood? (

But, again, we could be looking at a lack of understanding on the part of a person who is venturing into a new area for themselves because a particular aspect has caught their attention and hasn't taken the time to completely educate themselves on exactly what the entire concept is about.

Someone may be "going vegetarian" for the health benefits alone or because they think all vegetarians are tiny little things so they can lose weight by following a "vegetarian" diet (but fish is supposed to be good for you so they'll eat that). They aren't intentionally trying to mislead anyone, they just don't know any better and end up perpetuating misconceptions. Simple answer would be if no one would open their mouth without doing an in-depth study on any given subject, but no one, no matter how high or low their IQ, ever thinks they might be misinformed. Sadly, part of being human is having an ego and thinking we know lots of stuff ;)

mandalinn82
07-09-2008, 02:39 PM
This is such an interesting discussion, particularly as it pertains to who is "in charge" of enforcing personal eating preferences in a service setting. Does that burden fall to the waitstaff, who need to know each ingredient in a dish, or does it fall to the customer who has the preference to clearly express what their own "rules" about eating are? Is it some combination of the two?

This brought up another example for me...I am really, really, REALLY allergic to penicillin. Of the people who are called or call themselves "penicillin allergic", only about 5% are at risk for life threatening reactions to it. So when you go to the doctor and mention that you're "allergic to penicillin", they sometimes still prescribe it or don't look at it as life-threatening, just because for 95% of the people who say that, it really isn't. According to my doc, most people who say they are allergic to penicillin don't have an actual ALLERGY, they just had a bad reaction (nausea or other stomach issues, maybe a rash) at some point and their doctor told them they were allergic, so they've said it ever since. So doctors hear all kinds of versions of "allergic to penicillin", so much so that it has a diluted meaning now, and docs DO prescribe penicillin-family meds (like Amoxicillin) to people who say they are penicillin allergic. I'm not mad at the people who say they are allergic...they're probably using that term because someone called them that, or they don't have another word to express what they are trying to say.

When I go to the doctor, because I fall into that 5% with a "true" penicillin allergy, I have to be supercareful. I tell the receptionist, the doctor, and if anything is prescribed, the pharmacist filling it that I'm allergic to penicillin and will go into anaphylaxis if it is given to me. Even though it should be in my chart, I make them note it every time. When I had knee surgery, I not only told the admit desk, the nurse, the anesthesiologist, and the surgeon, I also wrote "NO PENICILLIN" on my IV arm in ink. Avoiding penicillin was that important to me (because if I don't avoid it, I could die!).

I consider that my burden - I need to avoid penicillin, so I make DARN sure there is no penicillin anywhere near me. If I just said to my doctor "I am allergic to penicillin", I wouldn't expect him to know that I was one of the 5% with a true allergy. It's my responsibility to tell people exactly what I cannot have, and how important that is to me.

I see this as much the same way. If the restriction is important to you, isn't it your job to make SURE that the people around you understand that restriction, rather than assume that the word "Vegetarian" means the same thing to them that it does to you? I mean, the word DOES have a defined meaning, and it'd be ideal if everyone knew what it was, but common-use of the word DOES include some level of flexibility, whether or not that is how it is literally defined. Knowing that, can't you just make sure everyone is aware of what it means for you by stating it explicitly? That'd prevent misunderstandings like you've mentioned, like people suggesting fish dishes in restaurants.

When I meet a new doctor, I say "I am allergic to penicillin. That means any drug in the penicillin family, including amoxicillin, cause me to go into anaphylactic shock. Please write it on my chart". Couldn't you say, "I'm Vegetarian. That means I don't eat any meats or meat based broths, including fish" or "I'm Vegan. That means I don't eat any animal products, including meat or meat based broths, fish, butter, dairy, honey, gelatin, etc". It'd make it easier for you to trust your plate doesn't contain the foods you can't have, AND you'd be informing people about the actual definitions for those words.

midwife
07-09-2008, 02:46 PM
This is such an interesting thread. To me, "vegetarian" means "does not eat meat, but might eat eggs/dairy" and "vegan" means "consumes no animal products". So I think that is pretty straightforward. I look at it as a philosophy and a way of life.

That being said, I have had pregnant ladies who are/were vegetarian, but craved and ate meat and fish during pregnancies. I wonder if that cancels out their ability to call themselves vegetarians? If so, is it just the duration of the meat-eating time? Can they be "reborn" vegetarians if they resume the lifestyle after birth?

I was a vegetarian for a short time, but I am no longer one, so I am not sure I can comment, as the terms do not make me as passionate one way or the other. I would suspect that most vegetarians and vegans are very careful about what and where they eat. I know of some who will not use the same pans that other family members use to cook meat. So I suppose that the general principle is "consumes no meat" but that the details and/or extremes may vary depending on the individual.

It could be a bit like the term "natural childbirth." I know ladies who interchange "natural childbirth" for "vaginal childbirth" and would call epidural/vacuum/episiotomy a "natural birth" whereas another woman might believe the only birth that can be considered "natural" is an unattended homebirth.

I wonder if the person who refuses to cook with the same pans that touch meat would consider another person who does share pans, but doesn't eat meat....not a vegetarian?

I think vegetarianism and veganism is an "either/or", ya do or ya don't eat meat. But if I've learned nothing else in my life, it is that there are a zillion gray lines that other people might experience.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 02:53 PM
Couldn't you say, "I'm Vegetarian. That means I don't eat any meats or meat based broths, including fish" or "I'm Vegan. That means I don't eat any animal products, including meat or meat based broths, fish, butter, dairy, honey, gelatin, etc". It'd make it easier for you to trust your plate doesn't contain the foods you can't have, AND you'd be informing people about the actual definitions for those words.Couldn't I? :lol: It's more like "I constantly HAVE had to", both me and countless other veg*ns. I'm all for a "teachable moment", but it's frustrating to deal with so much misinformation and to have to constantly inform.

I *do* think we all need to be responsible for getting our own needs met, obviously. However, when I go to a professional establishment whose job is to provide a quality dining and service experience, it would be nice if they took interest in educating themselves about how to be sensitive to their customers needs.

Thankfully for me, it's not as "life threatening" as for you and your allergy! For shame, you'd think DOCTORS and other health professionals wouldn't be so asinine!

Fat Chick B Gone
07-09-2008, 03:00 PM
I see this as much the same way. If the restriction is important to you, isn't it your job to make SURE that the people around you understand that restriction, rather than assume that the word "Vegetarian" means the same thing to them that it does to you? I mean, the word DOES have a defined meaning, and it'd be ideal if everyone knew what it was, but common-use of the word DOES include some level of flexibility, whether or not that is how it is literally defined. Knowing that, can't you just make sure everyone is aware of what it means for you by stating it explicitly? That'd prevent misunderstandings like you've mentioned, like people suggesting fish dishes in restaurants.


First I'm one of those that was told I was allergic to penicillin since I was a child. I have no idea if I really am or if I just got a rash when I was a kid!

In theory I agree with you but there is a big problem with applying this. There are bazillions of ingredients most would never consider to be animal derived. I've had people be shocked that whey was! Some don't know what caesin is (nor did I do be honest before I began my research). Gelatin is another common but not known animal product. The list is very lengthy and no I don't really think the waitress is going to go ask the chef about everything on my what I won't eat list. Now what I consider to be a very simple solution is to use the definition as Vegans intend - no animal or animal dervied products, byproducts, etc. and lable food accordingly even in restaurants. There are vegan seals approved by various vegan/vegetarian orginizations that appear on many food labels. There is a standard behind these labels that could be applied to all foods!

KateB
07-09-2008, 03:01 PM
I do think some of the issues arrise are due to people just not understanding...or even not realizing what all is included in each group.

When I was 12 I spent 2 1/2 months with my aunt and uncle who were lacto-ovo veggitarians. I ate what they ate, they did not buy meat for the omni niece. My aunt explained the differences in lacto, lacto-ovo, ovo and strict vegitarians. She explained some veggies even ate fish, though they are not "true vegitarians". I considered myself pretty weel educated in the field of vegitarianism for a 12 year old growing up in farm country.

Now recently the term vegan is being used. I understood it as meaning not comsuming or using any animal products. No meat, fish, chicken, dairy, eggs, leather, products tested on animals etc. Seemed pretty straight forward.

Then I read this post. I learned a little something.

Maybe I just wasn't thinking of the "root source" of these items, BUT....I never would have thought about honey as being off limits for a vegan. Why

#1 Bees make honey, it is not squeezed out of bees, or it does not come from bees the same way a steak comes from cows. The bee did not give up it's life to make honey.

#2 Bees are insects....I don't think of insects as "animals". Although I will from now on.

The other thing that I hadn't consideed an animal product is gelatin. I guess I never took the time to think of where it comes from....although I do know. So now that I have thought of that....I probably won't eat gelatin anymore...not that I ate that much of it before.

We learn something new everyday.

mandalinn82
07-09-2008, 03:05 PM
The thing is though, it really isn't the doctor's fault. Unfortuately for me, the popular meaning of "penicillin allergy" has shifted from a true allergic reaction to something that covers considerably more variable conditions. While it isn't technically correct to call getting nauseous from penicillin an "allergy", language is fluid and constantly shifting, and the term "penicillin allergy" now means something different to most people than it does to me, even though my definition is the technically correct one. So I modify it so my meaning is clear...I figure that, because I'm in the minority on usage of the word, I should probably clarify it, even though I'm using it in a technically correct way. I can't say I've ever been bothered by it (though my interactions with the medical community are no doubt less frequent than a vegetarian or vegan's interactions with people providing them food, so who knows, I might end up irritated after a while).

Most younger/recently trained docs now, though, have added to their charting procedure asking what a person means by "allergic", which simplifies things - they say "what happens when you take penicillin?" and then take note of the genuine medical allergies. I don't count on it, though!

mandalinn82
07-09-2008, 03:10 PM
FatChickBeGone - that'd be a great idea. It'd be like labeling things "Kosher". A certification process would ensure a good, specific definition and some sort of enforcement.

I think a lot of people know about as much about Veganism as I know about the Kosher dietary laws. I know a little, some popular knowledge (the Veganism equivalent of "they don't eat any animal products"), but not the specifics or more esoteric rules (the Veganism equivalents of honey and gelatin). Those things DEFINITELY aren't common knowledge for most people.

So a seal would be awesome. Hard to see who'd fund it, though, except restaurants that get the majority of their patronage from Vegetarian/Vegan customers...and they are the ones that most likely know and understand the correct usage without the certification.

yoyonomoreinvegas
07-09-2008, 03:22 PM
.The other thing that I hadn't consideed an animal product is gelatin. I guess I never took the time to think of where it comes from....although I do know. So now that I have thought of that....I probably won't eat gelatin anymore...not that I ate that much of it before.

We learn something new everyday.

You might also want to watch out for meds and supplements that come in capsule rather than pill form. A lot (most?) of the capsules are actually made from beef gelatin.......

chickybird
07-09-2008, 03:33 PM
This is a neat discussion. I have an off the wall thought. I don't eat a lot of meat. I mainly stick to chicken/fish. I rarely eat red meat, maybe 1 or 2 times a year. When my veggie/vegan friends come over, I work hard to make sure they have a meal they can eat.
However, I have one vegan friend who, in essence, is a snob. Don't misundertand, I think veganism is a great, healthful way of life. But this person goes out with us and makes fun of, or insults, or lectures us and the people around us on the evils of meat. When she sees us eating meat, she even makes little screams (pretending she's the meat/shrimp/chicken, etc) when we take bites. It's irritating to be condescended to, and we've never bugged her about her decision. It's her life, her choice, just like eating animal products is ours. Any tips on what to say to her when she gets like this?
And let me state for the record, I have nothing against veganism. I just find it irritating when she actively tries to convert others when they already know about their options. I don't think she realizes that not everyone can or wants to be a vegan. I have a digestive disorder that truly limits my diet, and if I tried to get all my protein and minerals from beans/veggies I'd never get away from the toilet (sorry about the TMI)
Any thoughts? I'd like to find a gentle way to tell her to mind her own business, but not insult her choice.

SoulBliss
07-09-2008, 03:35 PM
This is a neat discussion. I have an off the wall thought. I don't eat a lot of meat. I mainly stick to chicken/fish. I rarely eat red meat, maybe 1 or 2 times a year. When my veggie/vegan friends come over, I work hard to make sure they have a meal they can eat.
However, I have one vegan friend who, in essence, is a snob. Don't misundertand, I think veganism is a great, healthful way of life. But this person goes out with us and makes fun of, or insults, or lectures us and the people around us on the evils of meat. When she sees us eating meat, she even makes little screams (pretending she's the meat/shrimp/chicken, etc) when we take bites. It's irritating to be condescended to, and we've never bugged her about her decision. It's her life, her choice, just like eating animal products is ours. Any tips on what to say to her when she gets like this?
And let me state for the record, I have nothing against veganism. I just find it irritating when she actively tries to convert others when they already know about their options. I don't think she realizes that not everyone can or wants to be a vegan. I have a digestive disorder that truly limits my diet, and if I tried to get all my protein and minerals from beans/veggies I'd never get away from the toilet (sorry about the TMI)
Any thoughts? I'd like to find a gentle way to tell her to mind her own business, but not insult her choice.

I'd say just don't eat with this person. She sounds immature and perhaps well-meaning but her approach is distasteful any way you package it.

kaplods
07-09-2008, 04:11 PM
Often a word is used and defined by different groups of people. It was years before I learned that "ignorant" could mean unaware rather than "intentionally rude."

Now some would say that using the word "ignorant" to mean "intentionally rude" is an improper and incorrect use of the word. Others would say it's a regional difference as to the accepted meaning of the word.

Regional differences do play a role in the meaning of words, because the need to understand the distinctions, where to make the distinctions, and even the need for the distinction, is related to the chance of encountering situations in which it is important. I don't know much about kosher dietary laws, because I haven't needed to.

I find it surprising (as a result of my stereotype of California, of course), that anyone in Californina would need to explain veg*nism. However, I find it very understandable in Wisconsin. Moving to northcentral WI from central IL, I didn't expect culture shock (I mean it's still the Midwest, right). But I have, especially concerning the importance of hunting in the daily lives of average people. While not specifically anti-hunting, I was completely astonished to live in a community where so many people, doctors to housewives talked about making accomodations into their schedule to allow for hunting, not only as a common leisure activity, but as a civic responsibility. I learned that when deer herds become overpopulated, they can face starvation and disease, and the DNR (department of natural resources) determines that special accomodations need to be made to manage the herds. Not only will dedicated hunters, but even people who ordinarily don't hunt, will "help out," in these circumstances to keep the deer population healthy.

You could have told me I was in "OZ" when I learned this. "Helping the deer," by killing them... it was completely foreign to me when I moved here. But people here take "management" and "stewardship" of wildlife very seriously here, not only to maintain their traditional lifestyle, but out of a respect for nature that I'm just starting to understand.

Last year there was a problem with someone intentionally crippling birds of prey. It was the hunters in the community that were most vocal about the violent things that should be done to the person when they were caught. (And I might actually feel a little sorry for the person responsible, if they are caught in the act by a group of hunters).

Yeah, I'm getting off topic again, sorry!

KLK
07-09-2008, 04:58 PM
I personally think the decision to become vegetarian or vegan (esp. vegan, given how hard that eating style is) HAS to be a personal choice; a person can't be badgered into it and it can't be foisted upon them. A LOT of people feel very strongly ab their personal decision to become veg*n, their concern for animals, the evils of factory farming, what have you, that they forget that there is a fine line between "providing useful info at appropriate times to a receptive audience that might give someone a reason to become veg*n" and "being annoying and/or offensive."

I would just tell this girl that if you ever begin considering becoming vegan or vegetarian, you will ask her for all the info she has on the subject and you'd appreciate her support - IF YOU DECIDE TO SWITCH - until then, you're happy eating meat and you don't want your dietary differences to become an issue between you. Period, end of story.

I was strict vegetarian for YEARS (I only recently began eating a bit of fish) and when I first began i was all gung-ho about it, reading up on everything I could, talking ab it with people, lecturing people (sometimes), etc. but eventually it became less of an issue for me -- it was just part of me and who I am -- and people around me were free to eat whatever they want without my input. Has your friend recently made the switch to vegan? Is there any chance her constant talking about it will naturally pass with time?


This is a neat discussion. I have an off the wall thought. I don't eat a lot of meat. I mainly stick to chicken/fish. I rarely eat red meat, maybe 1 or 2 times a year. When my veggie/vegan friends come over, I work hard to make sure they have a meal they can eat.
However, I have one vegan friend who, in essence, is a snob. Don't misundertand, I think veganism is a great, healthful way of life. But this person goes out with us and makes fun of, or insults, or lectures us and the people around us on the evils of meat. When she sees us eating meat, she even makes little screams (pretending she's the meat/shrimp/chicken, etc) when we take bites. It's irritating to be condescended to, and we've never bugged her about her decision. It's her life, her choice, just like eating animal products is ours. Any tips on what to say to her when she gets like this?
And let me state for the record, I have nothing against veganism. I just find it irritating when she actively tries to convert others when they already know about their options. I don't think she realizes that not everyone can or wants to be a vegan. I have a digestive disorder that truly limits my diet, and if I tried to get all my protein and minerals from beans/veggies I'd never get away from the toilet (sorry about the TMI)
Any thoughts? I'd like to find a gentle way to tell her to mind her own business, but not insult her choice.

chickybird
07-09-2008, 06:09 PM
Nah, she's been vegan for about 10 years. Her husband is not even a vegetarian, and even he's not allowed to have animal products in the house. I'm sure she means well, and she's a fun person otherwise. It just makes social occasions a little awkward.

JulieJ08
07-09-2008, 06:27 PM
I would just tell this girl that if you ever begin considering becoming vegan or vegetarian, you will ask her for all the info she has on the subject and you'd appreciate her support

LOL, I think I'd tell her I've been considering becoming vegan, but she's pushed me off of it :devil: Well, honestly, I'd probably just want to tell her that ;)

WaterRat
07-09-2008, 06:59 PM
This was an enlightening and interesting thread to read. I learned a lot about veg*n. It's so nice that there are 5 pages of discussion and no heated threads and anyone "flouncing off" into cyberspace. :) My DH and I spent a lot of years early in our marriage putting every spare cent into building our house, and thus our food budget was minimal. We coined a phrase "economic vegetarians" to describe our eating habits! While we still eat a lot of non-meat meals, neither of us would call ourselves veg*n.

This brought up another example for me...I am really, really, REALLY allergic to penicillin. Of the people who are called or call themselves "penicillin allergic", only about 5% are at risk for life threatening reactions to it. So when you go to the doctor and mention that you're "allergic to penicillin", they sometimes still prescribe it or don't look at it as life-threatening, just because for 95% of the people who say that, it really isn't. According to my doc, most people who say they are allergic to penicillin don't have an actual ALLERGY, they just had a bad reaction (nausea or other stomach issues, maybe a rash) at some point and their doctor told them they were allergic, so they've said it ever since. So doctors hear all kinds of versions of "allergic to penicillin", so much so that it has a diluted meaning now, and docs DO prescribe penicillin-family meds (like Amoxicillin) to people who say they are penicillin allergic. I'm not mad at the people who say they are allergic...they're probably using that term because someone called them that, or they don't have another word to express what they are trying to say.


My DH also falls into this 5% category Amanda, which we found out the hard way a long time ago. We were both born in 1945, not long after penicillin was considered a wonder drug. Kids were given it for all sorts of things, and a few like my DH developed a true allergy to it. It was while we were in college and he contracted pneumonia that I nearly lost him to anaphalytic reaction. We're VERY careful about what's in his medical charts and what he means when he says he can't have it.

mandalinn82
07-09-2008, 07:47 PM
Interesting fact, tying into our conversation. The word "Flexitarian" was first used in 1994. It is defined as "an individual who primarily follows a vegetarian diet, but occasionally eats meat". It was voted by the American Dialect Society to be the most useful new word in 2003 ("useful" defined as the word or phrase that most fills the need for a new word). The American Dialect Society was founded in 1889, and is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it.

In 2002, the most useful new word was unanimously decided by all the members of the society to be the verb, To Google. In 2007, the most useful new word is "green-" used as a prefix, as in "Greenwashing".

Pat - it's scary stuff! We found out when I literally almost died (we missed the exit for the hospital, and by the time I actually got into the ER, my throat was completely closed). I'd taken it all the time as a kid too - recurrent tonsillitis.

kaplods
07-09-2008, 08:10 PM
I have to say, even though it's already been said, how absolutely wonderful it's been to really discuss a topic in real depth, especially a topic that can so easily, and understandably inspire controversy and hurt feelings.

I am constantly surprised at how many topics cannot be discussed calmly because people have divided themselves into a hostile "us" vs "them" mentality. At least with veg*nism, there are ethical issues that that make the split at least understandable, but I've run into some very nasty, bitter arguments and divisions on line between:

knitters and crocheters
machine knitters and hand knitters
loom knitters and hand knitters
knifty knittler (plastic) loom knitters and wooden loom knitters

I'm ever amazed at the human ability to divide with full-steam arrogance and hatred into "us" and "them" over disagreements and differences, regardless of the degree of the difference.

Not too long ago I read that using your silverware in an unfamiliar way, is a good way to force yourself to slow down while eating, and eat less. For example, if you're used to using an american style of holding the fork facing upward, you switch to a european style of holding the fork facing downward).
Instead of dipping the soup spoon towards you, you dip it away from you....

I've found that it works quite well. However, when I did so when eating in a restaurant with my family (parents and sisters), it drew rather extreme attention (I thought. It's not as if I was straining through soup with my fingers). I explained why I was doing it, and my mom told me to "stop it, it looks stupid." She and one of my sisters was actually miffed that I was using my silverware "wrong"!

tofuhead
07-09-2008, 10:43 PM
I was vegan for over 15 years and was married to a "carnivore" (that's what he called himself) and the understanding was that our daughter would be raised vegan, but it would be her choice to continue. He could have meat in the house, but he would be the one cooking it. I did cook for him if he was having frozen pizza or it was a simple heat up. It worked for us and he ate plenty of meatless meals.

My 14 year old daughter and I are vegetarian now...we still drink soymilk because neither of us likes the taste of cow's milk. We eat cow cheese and eggs, but far less than the "normal" person. We don't eat chicken or fish. This is the decision that we've made for ourselves and we know it may not be right for everyone.

I learned a long time ago that I can't change anyone else's mind, no matter how much you tried to do so. When other people tell me that they're veg, I don't ask them "how veg" they are. But I have been known to issue a friendly challenge when they try to tell me that chicken is a plant. ;-)

I do applaud anyone for their earth-friendlier and healthier eating choices and I make sure to answer any questions people may have about being veg. I pass meatless recipes out to those who ask and only use the "dead animal" comments when the person I'm talking to knows full well that I'm not going to confront them about their eating habits in a serious way. ;-)

nelie
07-10-2008, 09:58 AM
I do wish people would make more conscious choices about the food they eat and the sources of those food.

Personally, I think dairy is the worst of the animal products in terms of being bad for your health, the environment and the animals themselves. If someone gave up meat 'for the animals' but eats tons of (commercial) dairy, then they aren't doing much for the animals. Same for health. It isn't my choice on what others choose to do but I think looking into better choices/sources for food is something we should all be doing.

I do have to say I appreciate restaurants that know that all forms of vegetarians frequent their restaurants and provide options. Too often though there are restaurants that think a cheesy meal is the only option they can provide for vegetarians. I can't frequent my favorite sandwich shop any more because they really don't have any good options for me unless I want lettuce/tomato on a piece of bread with mustard.

Oh and I do have to say that the term 'flexitarian' does annoy me but I rather someone use that than vegetarian (if they still eat meat products). When my husband and I started cutting back on meat (we went from eating meat twice a day to eating it once a day to eating it a couple times per week), he jokingly called us halftarians. I simply told others that I didn't eat meat very often.

lizziep
07-13-2008, 02:33 PM
wow this thread has been an interesting read. I never thought too much about it before. I work with someone who says- I'm trying to be vegetarian, but I am not ready to give up chicken yet. I think thats a good and honest answer.

I do wonder - is there a term for someone who will only eat free-range, organic, cruelty-free animal products?

I am lucky to live in a town that is pretty veggie-friendly. A lot of restaurants I go to HAVE a little symbol next to the entree that will let you know if what you're going to consume is vegetarian or vegan. Very helpful. Also, there are several places here who only serve vegetarian and vegan dishes period. I think I wouldn't have that if I didn't live in Eugene, OR or the few other towns like us in the pacific northwest.

Fat Chick B Gone
07-13-2008, 02:36 PM
I do wonder - is there a term for someone who will only eat free-range, organic, cruelty-free animal products?



Happy Meaters ;-)

SoulBliss
07-13-2008, 02:38 PM
wow this thread has been an interesting read. I never thought too much about it before. I work with someone who says- I'm trying to be vegetarian, but I am not ready to give up chicken yet. I think thats a good and honest answer.
I LOVE that answer! I think it's GREAT that she says that *and* great that she's doing that! :cp:
I do wonder - is there a term for someone who will only eat free-range, organic, cruelty-free animal products?I call them "selective omnivores". :)

Just wanted to say that there really isn't a "cruelty-free" animal product, unless you happen to wander across an abandoned egg nest from a free, wild bird and take the eggs and eat them or you eat the body of an animal who died by natural causes and lived free and well prior to that (like roadkill or a pet).

walking2lose
07-13-2008, 02:45 PM
Hey Soulbliss - I have learned SO MUCH from reading this thread!

Can you or someone explain to me the idea of why vegans don't eat honey? I love honey (baklava one of my top 3 all time favorite desserts), and I had some really good local honey at my parents' house last night. I just read this thread and ... well, it just got me wondering. I understand honey is made from bees (their regurgitation of the nectar, right??), but I don't understand why it's not ok, unless the hives are bad for bees? Does it kill the bees to collect it? I would like to be more informed...

BTW, I could give up meat VERY EASILY - I don't eat much at all anyway, and I rarely cook it because raw meat has always grossed me out. I would have a very hard time giving up eggs (I get free range from trader joes), cheese, yogurt, honey... what else. Well, mainly eggs!

Thanks!

lizziep
07-13-2008, 02:48 PM
never thought of that- the cruelty free thing. i guess that more pertains to products you buy- things that are not tested on animals, etc.

SoulBliss
07-13-2008, 02:59 PM
Hey Soulbliss - I have learned SO MUCH from reading this thread!

Can you or someone explain to me the idea of why vegans don't eat honey? I love honey (baklava one of my top 3 all time favorite desserts), and I had some really good local honey at my parents' house last night. I just read this thread and ... well, it just got me wondering. I understand honey is made from bees (their regurgitation of the nectar, right??), but I don't understand why it's not ok, unless the hives are bad for bees? Does it kill the bees to collect it? I would like to be more informed...



I am glad that you've enjoyed it and I have too! There are many things I want to go back and comment on when I have the time, but I'll just start here...Honey and bee products can be delicious, useful and have some healing properties too, not to mention insects aren't really looked at as "animals" by some for some reason, so I understand why people are confused sometimes as to why vegans avoid it!

Here's a good read: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

Basically, honey is an animal product, bees are harmed in the harvesting and production of it (I've seen the process first hand) and they work very hard to produce the honey. There are also environmental issues to consider.

A little factoid that is gross but not necessarily the *reason* honey is not vegan is this: It is an animal secretion. Honey is made by bees regurgitating nectar that has been mixed with their enzymes. :eek: NASTY!!! :o

More on that:

http://www.pa.msu.edu/sciencet/ask_st/073097.html

"Honeybees use nectar to make honey. Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. In fact, if you have ever pulled a honeysuckle blossom out of its stem, nectar is the clear liquid that drops from the end of the blossom. In North America, bees get nectar from flowers like clovers, dandelions, berry bushes and fruit tree blossoms. They use their long, tubelike tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and they store it in their "honey stomachs". Bees actually have two stomachs, their honey stomach which they use like a nectar backpack and their regular stomach. The honey stomach holds almost 70 mg of nectar and when full, it weighs almost as much as the bee does. Honeybees must visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honeystomachs.

The honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees suck the nectar from the honeybee's stomach through their mouths. These "house bees" "chew" the nectar for about half an hour. During this time, enzymes are breaking the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it is both more digestible for the bees and less likely to be attacked by bacteria while it is stored within the hive. The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey."

PhotoChick
07-13-2008, 03:00 PM
re: the honey thing. When you harvest honey you (a) destroy a part of the home of the bees and (b) are taking the product of their work without ... as odd as this might sound ... compensation. Same as drinking milk or consuming dairy - milking doesn't HURT the animal, but it makes use of a product of theirs w/out their consent or compensation.

I understand intellectually why some vegans won't consume honey, but I don't necessarily agree with the mindset. Well, then again, I don't agree with the concept that eating milk or dairy is taking advantage, either.

.

nelie
07-13-2008, 03:54 PM
I think eating honey is the least of my concerns although I've never really eaten honey to begin with.

Photo - I know I've heard the 'taking advantage' thing with cows but it is really more than that. It is the fact that dairy cows are treated horribly for their incredibly short lives which end up as them being second grade meat. A lot of people think that the dairy industry is far more cruel than the meat industry. I gave up meat/dairy for health reasons though but I do think dairy is one of the worst things you can eat, healthwise.

walking2lose
07-13-2008, 07:27 PM
Thanks for all the info on honey. Now I'm rethinking my dairy. I do buy free range eggs... I have been assuming those chickens are treated well. I mainly eat egg whites -- scrambled, fried, in omelets -- and I just love them. I also love cheese, although I really don't eat a lot of it. Well, I take that back because I do eat a bit of feta at least 4-5 days a week on my salad. I think I need to do some research.

SoulBliss
07-13-2008, 09:33 PM
You know, it's great that this discussion has sparked so much introspection. :)

I appreciate all the input and ideas shared. We all live as we feel is best for us and being able to live respectfully alongside one another (if even just in cyber-space) is really great.

Here's a good brief and not at all "preachy" explanation behind some of the "free range" poultry concerns.

http://www.upc-online.org/freerange.html

Here's some food for thought on some of the concerns people interested in being "cruelty free" and environmentally conscious have with dairy products, in an article that articulates many of these issues:

http://www.headheritage.co.uk/uknow/features/index.php?id=8

walking2lose
07-13-2008, 09:36 PM
Thanks, Soulbliss, for the links. I plan to check them out - either tomorrow or tonight after I watch Food Network Star!

SoulBliss
07-13-2008, 11:51 PM
Cool! Here's a really good exploration into the "free range" topic: http://www.peacefulprairie.org/freerange1.html

Marathon Mom
07-15-2008, 02:24 PM
I am one of those Flexitarians... and wanted to chime in...

I don't label myself as a vegetarian - But I am labeled one because there's no simple way of labeling my eating repitiore...

I personally don't like to eat beef, pork, chicken, bison, elk, pheasant, quail, rabbit or other meat. I also don't like certain fish. Because they personally remind me of eating people. And I REALLY don't like that. However, I don't have a problem eating tuna fish from a can or canned crab meat. I also don't find gelatin to have any human qualities either. It's just a personal preference.

So when someone offers me a burger and I say - no thanks - They say "Oh are you a vegatarian"... The above ^^^ disseratation seems rather lenthy... when a simple nod or "pretty much" will do.

nelie
07-15-2008, 02:30 PM
Marathon,

Why wouldn't "I don't eat beef" do? or "I eat some forms of fish"?

Marathon Mom
07-15-2008, 02:38 PM
Well... I don't eat burgers or hot dogs or chicken or brautwurst either - I find it more concise and easier to bring my own box of boca burgers.

My point was I don't label myself - It's silly to say I'm 95% vegetarian. Others choose to label my eating habits.

nelie
07-15-2008, 02:44 PM
Well I guess my point really is if someone offers me some food and I refuse it, I don't have to list out every single item of food that I don't eat. Obviously it isn't a problem for you because if something is vegetarian you can eat it. Where as vegetarians have to constantly explain themselves to various people on the fact that they don't eat fish or other things that people have seen 'vegetarians' eat.

kaplods
07-15-2008, 03:31 PM
Humans love labels. They make communication easier (at least they're supposed to), but when people don't fit into existing labels there's a dilemma.

Use an existing label inappropriately (really annoys a lot of people).

Coin a new label (really annoys a lot of people).

Give a lengthy explanation (really annoys a lot of people).


Being too precise can destroy meaning as much as being too vague, but the problem is where to draw the line. The line is always drawn individually based upon personal values and beliefs not only regarding the specific label itself, but about the necessity for precision in language (both situationally and generally).

It's selfish and egocentric (as is most of human behavior) to only care about the labels in regard to how they apply to ourselves, but that's generally what occurs. If I belong and care about the label, I don't want to be mislabeled and I don't want others mislabeled either. If it's a label to which I do not belong to or identify with, my motives for caring are very different. Then I'm apt to regard the label only in terms of it's informative value to me, and it only has to be as precise as I need it to be.

When I converted to the Missouri Synod Lutheran church, I learned that for many people the synod to which one belongs is VERY important, and confusing synod membership can be "fighting words." At our own wedding, we nearly caused a family feud, because the minister said a prayer at our wedding reception before the meal. Apparently, praying in a mixed group of denominations (Catholic, Missouri and Wisconsin synod Lutheran and the mixed religions of our coworkers who attended) is a MAJOR no-no for Wisconsin synod Lutherans. Some of my husband's relatives were DEEPLY offended, and we heard about it later, heck we STILL hear about it.


Not sure if there is any solution, but I do think talking about it does help. It brings the awareness to people who otherwise wouldn't realize there was a reason to care.

PhotoChick
07-15-2008, 04:18 PM
So when someone offers me a burger and I say - no thanks - They say "Oh are you a vegatarian"... The above ^^^ disseratation seems rather lenthy

See, my response to this would simply be "nope" with a smile. I don't see that I need to define myself to anyone. If they pressed for more information, I'd say something like "there are some things I don't eat, and some things I do."

People tend to think that it's ok to just ask any old personal question and to delve into your whys and wherefores ... and I just don't buy into that. Not that I consider what you eat to be on the same level as, say, your sex life or your finances! :) But mostly unless someone is asking because they're really interested in getting to know me or interested in the lifestyle I've chosen, I just smile and keep my answers short and sweet.

.

UnicornsandPink
07-16-2008, 04:45 AM
hi everyone. i am new but as a ovolacto vegetarian for 13 years i have to say something.
a lot of vegans and vegetarians have this whole self righteous attitude going on that i don't understand. i was a vegan for 2 years and it didn't work out because i missed salmon. sorry(or not.) anyway, while i was a vegan i was asked by various people if i ate fish or other non vegan animal product stuff. i would say no and that would be it. i didn't get mad, i didn't want to point out the definition of "animal" in anyone's face. i don't own the word vegan or vegetarian and it doesn't really bother me that other people use it differently than i do. in life there are so many different levels to everything that we do that yes, some people are going to ask questions and yes some people are going to ask you the same question that someone else asked. the reality is, if you're a vegan or a vegetarian for WHATEVER reason then it shouldn't matter who says what about a stupid word that really means nothing. just don't eat meat or animal products and when someone asks you if you're a vegetarian you can proudly say that yes you are a REAL one. honestly though who cares? i don't even tell people that i am an ovo lacto vegetarian. it's a mouthful and i've been doing this for so long, it's seems like a natural part of my life. i don't understand why people in any kind of group have to find a way of alienating others because they don't do things exactly the same way? it must be human nature or something.

nelie
07-16-2008, 09:16 AM
Honestly,

It took many many months for me to say I was a vegetarian and really, I've only said that to a few people. (As I said before, I usually say I don't eat animal products) The issue really comes up in situations where people think they understand what vegetarian means. "Come over for dinner, I will cook something vegetarian for you" and then someone serves you fish, chicken or other animal products. Or even if you go to a restaurant and they have 'vegetarian' options that include fish.

Curious though that you say you were vegan but missed salmon, why couldn't you eat a mostly vegan diet and eat salmon? Are you classifying your current vegetarianism as pescatarian?

I think we are all responsible for what goes into our mouths but it can be a daunting task to eat out or even eat with friends sometimes. At most regular restaurants, I usually have 1 maybe 2 choices of things to eat off the menu. It is also refreshing when a restaurant understands vegetarian diets and tries to accommodate them. If accommodating started meaning 'fish products are ok', then it would be even more difficult.

I personally eat out at a vegan restaurant almost every week. Mostly because it is nice to go out and have lots of choices that are good and I don't have to worry about them not understanding what I'd want in my food and what I wouldn't.

Marathon Mom
07-16-2008, 09:54 AM
Nelie - You've missed my point - I clearly said that I don't refer to myself as a vegetarian. I pointed out the fact that because I don't eat most meat, it is other people that have labeled me a vegetarian.

I know what "vegetarian" means. Because I occasionaly eat fish from a can... I don't care if that negates me from being in the vegetarian club.. I don't label myself as one... People label other people inappropriately all the time - it's called life.

nelie
07-16-2008, 10:24 AM
I guess my point really was that I think it is silly for someone to assume someone is vegetarian because they don't want a hamburger (or something else meaty). I know many people that don't eat beef. At one point, I was eating meat rarely and people would ask me if I was vegetarian. I would say no because I wasn't.

SoulBliss
07-16-2008, 10:25 AM
honestly though who cares? I obviously do, which is why I started this thread. I'm in good company, too. :) These people also care: Almost everyone in this thread, veg*n or not. All my veg*n friends both online or in real life. Countless veg*ns on other vegetarian message boards. The societies that exist to support veg*ns.

Welcome to 3FC, by the way! :welcome:

Shy Moment
07-16-2008, 10:47 AM
nelie
I go thru the same thing. I eat only enough meat to meet my daily requirements. I think tofu is about the nasties thing I have ever seen or tasted no matter how it was made I KNEW it was not meat. I just don't care for meat. That doesn't mean I don't eat meat at all but people assume I don't. I support everyone no matter what their eating habits are as long as those eating habits are healthy. There is a basic four basic food group pyramid it has been around for ages and not all but most docs, nutritionist and dietitians go by it. There is a new pyramid out of course that encompases the non meat way of eating. The dietitian and nutritionist that I have both say you can NOT get everything from pills or other foods that you get from some meats. I tend to stick with fish and chicken myself. By the way, I think if a person doesn't want to eat meat that is up to them. I in no way would put anyone down for NOT eating meat. I find it amazing how many that don't eat meat sure want to put people down that do eat meat. God gave us meat to eat that is good enough for me if a person wants to eat it.

shananigans
07-16-2008, 01:07 PM
Wow, am I glad I poked my head in here. I haven’t been visiting these boards much lately, because honestly I spend enough time IRL surrounded by omnivores and lacto/ovo veggies and “vegetarians” that eat gelatin that I’ve come to prefer my online forum time to be spent with other vegans, of which I know exactly zero in real life. But this has been a really good discussion that surprisingly hasn’t devolved into crazy accusations and name calling.

I guess it would be really nice if I could go anywhere to eat and just say “vegan” and assume the server knew what I meant, or be assured that there actually would be anything vegan anywhere I go, but sadly that’s not the world we live in. I guess it sort of bothers me, but I’ve also kind of just gotten over it and adjusted. Half the time I don’t even use the word “vegan” when talking to a server or anyone who might be preparing me a meal (especially if I have reason to believe that word doesn’t mean anything to them) and I just go straight for the “no meat, fish, poultry, meat-based stock, dairy (sometimes have to clarify what all dairy means), eggs, gelatin or honey” diatribe. Does this make me sound neurotic and crazy sometimes? I’m sure it does. But I don’t care. I have aligned myself with a set of beliefs that the vast majority of those around me are unfamiliar with, and thus my consumption patterns are not something most people are going to know about off the bat if I just say “vegan”. I know where to go to get good vegan food, if I’m choosing the restaurant I will go to one of these places. If I’m forced by some sort of group situation or something to go to an omni-centric restaurant I just deal with it as best I can. I don’t really care about the label “vegan” as much as I care about what being vegan means to me, which is deeply personal and I just don’t presume that the average person is interested in my personal ethical beliefs.

Now that isn't to say I don't try to have educational moments about what veganism is and what it means to me if I'm asked by a friend or co-worker, I'm just saying that the muddying of the term is the reality of the situation and I can work around it accordingly in food situations.



...I eat only enough meat most of the time to meet my daily requirements. I just don't care for meat.

pssst...un, there's actually no dietary requirement for meat or any animal products in your diet.

source (http://www.eatright.org/ada/files/vegnp.pdf): from the ADA position paper on veg*an diets.

This position paper reviews the current scientific data related to key nutrients for vegetarians, including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, vitamin A, n-3 fatty acids and iodine. A vegetarian, including vegan, diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients.

betsysunqueen
07-16-2008, 07:43 PM
I obviously do, which is why I started this thread. I'm in good company, too. :) These people also care: Almost everyone in this thread, veg*n or not. All my veg*n friends both online or in real life. Countless veg*ns on other vegetarian message boards. The societies that exist to support veg*ns.



I care too! I care because every person who claims the label of veg*n while consuming products that don't fit the definition is diluting what the term actually means and obfuscating the moral reality of the choices veg*ns are making.

SoulBliss
07-16-2008, 07:46 PM
I care too! I care because every person who claims the label of veg*n while consuming products that don't fit the definition is diluting what the term actually means and obfuscating the moral reality of the choices veg*ns are making.

;)

:carrot: :hug: :carrot:

(I LOVE your avatar pic, by the way!)

SoulBliss
07-16-2008, 07:48 PM
Wow, am I glad I poked my head in here. I haven’t been visiting these boards much lately, because honestly I spend enough time IRL surrounded by omnivores and lacto/ovo veggies and “vegetarians” that eat gelatin that I’ve come to prefer my online forum time to be spent with other vegans, of which I know exactly zero in real life. But this has been a really good discussion that surprisingly hasn’t devolved into crazy accusations and name calling.

I guess it would be really nice if I could go anywhere to eat and just say “vegan” and assume the server knew what I meant, or be assured that there actually would be anything vegan anywhere I go, but sadly that’s not the world we live in. I guess it sort of bothers me, but I’ve also kind of just gotten over it and adjusted. Half the time I don’t even use the word “vegan” when talking to a server or anyone who might be preparing me a meal (especially if I have reason to believe that word doesn’t mean anything to them) and I just go straight for the “no meat, fish, poultry, meat-based stock, dairy (sometimes have to clarify what all dairy means), eggs, gelatin or honey” diatribe. Does this make me sound neurotic and crazy sometimes? I’m sure it does. But I don’t care. I have aligned myself with a set of beliefs that the vast majority of those around me are unfamiliar with, and thus my consumption patterns are not something most people are going to know about off the bat if I just say “vegan”. I know where to go to get good vegan food, if I’m choosing the restaurant I will go to one of these places. If I’m forced by some sort of group situation or something to go to an omni-centric restaurant I just deal with it as best I can. I don’t really care about the label “vegan” as much as I care about what being vegan means to me, which is deeply personal and I just don’t presume that the average person is interested in my personal ethical beliefs.

Now that isn't to say I don't try to have educational moments about what veganism is and what it means to me if I'm asked by a friend or co-worker, I'm just saying that the muddying of the term is the reality of the situation and I can work around it accordingly in food situations.





pssst...un, there's actually no dietary requirement for meat or any animal products in your diet.

source (http://www.eatright.org/ada/files/vegnp.pdf): from the ADA position paper on veg*an diets.
I relate to your post, 100%.

I feel like I am "adjusted" too, but it's been a struggle for SO long that it gets tiring after a while. :^:

betsysunqueen
07-16-2008, 07:59 PM
;)


(I LOVE your avatar pic, by the way!)

Thank you! We've never interacted much before, so I never had the chance to tell you that seeing your posts on this board was a big influence on me seeking more information on veganism and becoming a vegan last year.

It's been almost a year now and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made! I can't believe I waited so long to do it. I hope you know what a great and positive representative of veganism you are on this board (and probably to everybody you meet IRL as well). If I can do half as well, I'll be proud.

SoulBliss
07-16-2008, 08:05 PM
Thank you! We've never interacted much before, so I never had the chance to tell you that seeing your posts on this board was a big influence on me seeking more information on veganism and becoming a vegan last year.

It's been almost a year now and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made! I can't believe I waited so long to do it. I hope you know what a great and positive representative of veganism you are on this board (and probably to everybody you meet IRL as well). If I can do half as well, I'll be proud.

Wow, you've just made my day (in the best way!). :thanks:

Thanks for going vegan. :high:

For once I am speechless. :^:

THE Heather
07-16-2008, 09:10 PM
Thank you! We've never interacted much before, so I never had the chance to tell you that seeing your posts on this board was a big influence on me seeking more information on veganism and becoming a vegan last year.


I'm going to chime in here as well about you Soulbliss. I have to admit that your posts are what made me consider the switch. I know you were a big help in the thread I posted in past about considering the switch. Now I'm ovo lacto and I'm transitioning to a vegan diet. (I wanted to make it gradual so I don't go crazy, that's how I do things)

SORRY TO BE OFF TOPIC. CONTINUE :D

SoulBliss
07-16-2008, 09:15 PM
Hey, I don't mind things like this being off topic. :D

:cp: Heather, I am so glad you've gone veg*n and that I was of help!!!

:carrot: :woohoo:

kaplods
07-16-2008, 10:09 PM
I have to agree that SoulBliss has been a great influence on me, even though I have not changed my position on eating meat, completely. She's inspired me to give it thought and in the process not only helped me understand a different perspective than my own, helped me understand what I believe and why, and what I'm willing to do about it.

I have to say I've always been pretty open-minded, but living in an area of the country in which vegetarians are thought to be "odd" and vegans just plain insane (that is by the few people who understand the difference, and those that don't pretty much lump 'em all together in the crazy bin, anyway) - well, I couldn't help but have some pretty dumb stereotypes. I have to say that I had a lot more stereotypes about the food than the people though. I thought "even if I did believe that eating meat and animal products was wrong, there's no way I could eat 'that way."

"The Downtown Grocery," in Wausau is a health food grocery (the owneres also own their own organic CSA farm with cabins for guests, have to plug my favorites to do my part to keep them in business) and they make homemade vegan lunches daily.

Getting to know SoulBliss, well she just didn't seem like the kind of person who would put up with crappy tasting food, so I do have to give her partial credit for my willingness to try the food. A couple weeks ago I had a sweet potato and black bean burrito that was to die for. Sooo amazingly yummy, with cumin and coriander and fresh salsa. Hubby passed and bought a brat on the way home (good ol' Wisconsin boys, might pass out if they don't have beef, pork or deep fried walleye every few hours).

Actually, I have to give hubby a gold star. This past weekend we went to have lunch (my pick) and I picked the Grocery. I had the dahl (an indian curried lentil soup) and hubby had the creamed cauliflower soup (no cream, just smushed cauliflower, onions, veggie broth and seasonings). I also had some seaweed salad (love sewead salad) and "Jamaican Gems salad." It was a garlicky sweet potato salad, but the sweet potato was either raw or barely blanched, because the taters were very crunchy. OMG, so good it's going to be one of our "regular" weekend lunch spots.

It's funny, because I really never thought my husband would have an ounce of sympathy or understanding for veganism. Early in our relationship (I think we weren't married yet, or were barely married) we heard on the radio that that McDonald's had been using beef tallow in their french fries. I gasped really loudly, horrified, and hubby asked what on earth was wrong, and I repeated what I'd heard on the radio. He didn't get it. I pointed out that veg*ns and Hindus (and heck even my devoutly Catholic family, if they had ordered fries with their filet of fish during lent) could have been eating the fries, thinking they were "ok."

I still don't think he got it then, but I think he would now. He's really become a lot more open-minded, not just in terms of food, but viewpoints other than those he was raised with.

And I think THAT is the real issue. Not that we all agree on everything, but that we respect the opinions of people we don't agree with whenever we are consciencously able to. That we realize that things we don't care about may very be important to other people and deserve to be treated respectfully (so "who cares," is a phrase to be used very carefully, with the realization that it's a slap in the face to those who do).

Oops, getting off of soapbox now...

THE Heather
07-16-2008, 10:24 PM
living in an area of the country in which vegetarians are thought to be "odd" and vegans just plain insane

I can most definately relate. I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma and I live in Texas for crying out loud. Everyone knows our stereotypes of steaks and steers and whatnot.

I saw something you had posted earlier, about hunting season. In Oklahoma, people would skip school if they were old enough to go hunting, and it was perfectly acceptable. They would miss two or three classes, and they actually accepted a note from the parent saying that the student was hunting. I always found that quite odd.


I grew up eating meat. I lived on a farm where we did your typical FFA activities, including showing sheep and pigs. After so many years...to put it nicely...we "made our own meat." But we used everything. I know that doesn't make it better, but we never bought meat from stores. Actually, I don't think we did until I moved here to Texas six years ago.

The reason I chose vegetarian isn't for ethical reasons...although those reasons are enough. I did it for my health. After I had my gallbladder removed, it has become extremely painful for me to digest any sort of meat. Making the switch to ovo lacto alone has made the pains go away and I overall feel better...even lighter. (Although the scale may say otherwise) Who knows how I'll feel when I make the switch completely to vegan.

To get back on topic, I have to agree with the thought that we as humans love labels. It does help us define who we are. Whether or not it is right for someone to call themselves something that they're not, is a different story. I can understand the frustration, I really can. It even more frustrating when someone labels you, even if it is correct.

nelie
07-17-2008, 10:14 AM
I can totally relate, I grew up in a culture and family where meat is part of the culture. It isn't uncommon to see animals slaughtered or even cooked whole for special events. Also, every part of the animal is eaten. I also had neighbors who would raise their own animals at slaughter them at home and also use them for eggs. (My family wasn't too fond of that practice, they prefer to grow fruits and vegetables)

I don't know any other vegetarians in my family and I don't remember any growing up although they might've been there. When I gave up meat, my parents grumbled but they already think I'm weird. When I said I had given up eggs and cheese, they really couldn't grasp that. So yeah, I'm the weird one :)

shananigans
07-17-2008, 10:21 AM
kaplods - You are definitly right about those "up north" folks being pretty in the dark about the whole vegan thing on the whole. But even with my family I've found that once they try the food and find that it's not scary or weird and in fact tastes good they see that it is not entirely crazy to eat this way. Even my meat-a-tarian BIL ate three TVP sloppy joes last time he came to visit. I think it will take some time, but as more people start to eat less meat and animal products, for whatever reasons, it will become more common for people to know a vegan or two and not find it so extreme or "weird".

Even in Madison, which is supposed to be the "liberal" center of Wisconsin we don't have a single all vegetarian restaurant. There used to be a couple but they have gone out of business. There are plenty of places that have good vegan options, but it's not the same. I miss my favorite restaurants in LA where I could order anything off the menu. It would take me half an hour to decide, but it was still great. *sigh*

UnicornsandPink
07-17-2008, 01:35 PM
Curious though that you say you were vegan but missed salmon, why couldn't you eat a mostly vegan diet and eat salmon? Are you classifying your current vegetarianism as pescatarian?

who said i don't eat a mostly vegan diet and eat salmon? i do. i like salmon and i like swiss cheese haha. i don't do dairy for the most part because it makes me sick. i came to enjoy the vegan foods i was eating and for the most part i still eat them. occasionally i have some swiss cheese on my bocca burger, and once a week i have salmon or some other kind of sea food. when i stopped the complete vegan lifestyle is when i started loosing weight. i don't know if that has to do with the addition of salmon and the omega fatties, but something worked and i'm glad that i made the switch. again with the classifications? jc, i am an ovo lacto vegetarian(and i can't even seem to SPELL it right)that's as far as i will go in over classifying myself.
I obviously do, which is why I started this thread. I'm in good company, too. :) These people also care: Almost everyone in this thread, veg*n or not. All my veg*n friends both online or in real life. Countless veg*ns on other vegetarian message boards. The societies that exist to support veg*ns.

Welcome to 3FC, by the way! :welcome:

i think you missed my point. the question "who cares" was rhetorical. i suppose the real question would be: why do you care so much? i think a large portion of this worlds problems have to do with other people caring so much about what other people are doing and having to poke noses in and tell people that what they're doing is "wrong". i mean this on even the smallest level. i don't mean to be offensive about this...but i don't like the vegan and vegetarian community in my area(california)because of the level of pretension and self righteousness they have elevated to in the past few years. i don't like the extremes that any group tries to enforce upon other people. like crazy feminists burning bras and hating men, i'm a feminist but i don't hate men and i would not burn my bra(they cost too much!). i agree with most vegetarians about why they stopped eating meat. i admire the souls who have the will power and dedication to go vegan. i just wont judge other people who are trying to do something right(not eat meat, cut down on meat ect.)just because i don't like the image they are projecting to society about me. that's the problem right? you don't like how "hard" they make it for you guys in real life because the options are limited right? well you knew when you became one that it was going to be hard. no accommodates minorities no matter what minority you are. when i became a vegetarian(no meat no dairy veggies and grains only)thirteen years ago, it was WAY harder than it is now and i wasn't even a vegan! imagine how it was in the sixties and seventies! we have it easy now with all the choices that are available. there weren't any vegan restaurants and certainly not enough to go eat at a different one every week. things will get better and easier for all non meat eaters of every degree, all we have to do educate people and trust me, some will listen. or do what people have been doing for years now(hence the uprise in all the veg stuff we see):create your own.
my whole point before was why waste time picking apart what other people label themselves as? show people what you are and let others do the same.

UnicornsandPink
07-17-2008, 01:36 PM
ps thank you for the welcomes!:hug:

nelie
07-17-2008, 02:09 PM
who said i don't eat a mostly vegan diet and eat salmon? i do. i like salmon and i like swiss cheese haha. i don't do dairy for the most part because it makes me sick. i came to enjoy the vegan foods i was eating and for the most part i still eat them. occasionally i have some swiss cheese on my bocca burger, and once a week i have salmon or some other kind of sea food. when i stopped the complete vegan lifestyle is when i started loosing weight. i don't know if that has to do with the addition of salmon and the omega fatties, but something worked and i'm glad that i made the switch. again with the classifications? jc, i am an ovo lacto vegetarian(and i can't even seem to SPELL it right)that's as far as i will go in over classifying myself.


Well people usually say "I miss cheese and eggs" and go from vegan to ovo lacto vegetarian. I can see someone enjoying the vegan diet but missing salmon so adding salmon. It just sounded weird to say "I missed salmon so I added salmon, eggs and cheese back into my diet". I sincerely support anyone who reduces the amount of meat and other animal products in their diet. When I decided to give up meat, I told my husband that he could eat meat, dairy and eggs if he wanted because it was my choice. I told him that I don't think dairy is especially healthy or meat. (Although I avoid eggs, I think they are probably one of the least unhealthy). He also loved fish and I told him of the meats, fish was probably the best choice so again if he wanted, he could still have fish at least occasionally. In the first couple months, he did eat meat a couple times, mostly fish and I supported him because his meat consumption went from once a day to once every other week. So I would applaud anyone who has reduced their animal product consumption but still may eat some.

Again though, I do wish those that do eat meat like yourself wouldn't tell people you are vegetarian. It isn't a badge of honor and the issue isn't you telling vegetarians and vegans you are a vegetarian, it is telling those who don't understand vegetarianism that you are a vegetarian.

You could tell vegetarians/vegans all day that you were vegetarian and I wouldn't bother saying anything about it. It is the people who don't know anything about vegetarians that see you eat fish and say "oh vegetarians must eat fish!". Trust me, they do. I know someone who has a vegetarian (ovo lacto) son and he has been that way for many years. They even said to me something about vegetarians eating fish. I thought it was weird considering that they didn't know vegetarians don't eat fish and their son would not be happy if they tried to feed him fish.

shananigans
07-17-2008, 03:26 PM
I agree with nelie, I think people should try to the best of their abilities to be accurate in their description of what they eat so there is less frustration and confusion in general. The individual still has the ultimate responsibility on communicating what they do and do not eat and taking responsibility for what goes in his or her mouth, but we can all agree that labels can be somewhat useful, but only so far as they are understood. So it would be nice if you could refrain from telling others you're a vegetarian if you aren't, at least not without qualifying it so others would understand that vegetrians generally don't eat whatever animal product it is that you eat.

I know that a lot of people get fed up with the perceived “sanctimonious veg*an” because they feel they are being attacked for a personal choice, and I would agree that there are some obnoxious in-you-face people out there. Just to play devil’s advocate though, I don’t think choosing to consume animal products is strictly a personal choice. To me, a personal choice affects only that person in any meaningful way, and as such I generally feel people can make whatever personal choices suit them. Want to dye your hair purple? Fine. Worship the flying spaghetti monster? Knock yourself out. But choosing to eat animals and their secretions not only affects the consumer, it affects the animals that are consumed in a pretty big way. Therefore, not strictly a personal decision. I am not vegan because I think it makes me look so cool and superior or something, I am vegan because I believe every living being has a right to its own life, to not be commodified and treated as mere property. So next time someone gets a little uppity about it, just understand that from some people’s point of view we are surrounded by a massive holocaust that almost no one seems to be bothered by. I try not to think about it too much because if I did I my head would explode, but yeah, it can make you a little raw sometimes.

kaplods
07-17-2008, 05:48 PM
shananigans,

I think you've indirectly addressed what I think underlies a large part of this discussion, which we've all been carefully, and politely skirting. Avoiding this issue has allowed the conversation to remain quite polite, but also an unavoidable issue is being ignored.

There is a fundamental rift between the beliefs of some veg*ns and most omnivores (and even between some vegans and vegetarians, both within and between), and that is whether or not it is ethically acceptable to eat or use animals and animal products and if so, which animals, and under what circumstances.

Where each of us draws that line, is going to vary a lot. And no amount of persuasion or discussion or debate is going to change most people's minds. While I can understand and respect "that" some people find the practice of eating meat immoral, because I don't - my understanding, and even my respect is going to be limited. I am going to "forget" (because I'm a flawed human being) how important this is to people, because it's only "so" important to me.

Some people (on any side of any issue) don't care at all what other people believe. Only what they believe matters, everyone else is WRONG. What can I say, those people are always going to do and say whatever they want to, regardless of how it affects other people. Most people are going to be willing to accomodate people of differing beliefs only so much as they are able to without violating their own moral code (and unfortunately only so much as it doesn't inconvenience them TOO much).

I think that's about as far as it goes. The problem with being a minority (any minority) is that the extent to which the majority is willing to go to accomodate the minority, I'm afraid, is generally "not that much."

As a hugely fat person, I am constantly amazed at how many waitresses try to seat me and my hugely fat husband in a narrow booth that is bolted to the floor. Anyone with eyes, should be able to see that we are not going to fit in the spot they are wanting to place us. What kind of idiot thinks my two foot thick body is going to fit in an 12 inch thick space?

If people can't grasp a concept that's staring them right in the face, anything more "cerebral" is going to be even more difficult. I'm sure skinny waitress has never once NOT fit into any chair, so why would she expect anyone else to ever have an issue (I still think looking at us and looking at the booth SHOULD be fairly obvious, but apparently it's not).

My FIL who passed away last year, was confined to a wheel chair for all the years I knew him, and it was terrible how many "handicapped accessible" facilities were far from. Unless a person could teleport themselves onto the toilet, most handicapped accessible bathrooms are useless to a person in a wheel chair.

What is even worse, I never once thought about it until he mentioned it. Now, when I see a handicapped stall, I can't help but think about how few people can actually use it. I look at it with different eyes, and see how easy it would be to improve the layouts of handicapped restrooms, and wonder why the guys designing and constructing the bathrooms don't think about it. I see it now, because it became important to me, but I was blind to it until then.

And I think that's the sad truth, people ignore what isn't important to them. Oh, they don't usually go out of their way to hurt people, but unless they have a darn good reason to care, they just don't think about it much.

nelie
07-17-2008, 06:17 PM
What you say is definitely true Kaplods. There are some vegans that can't believe people can eat meat, dairy or eggs because of the ethics involved. Some vegans believe that if people only knew the horrors, that everyone would be vegan. Even I believe I am somewhat educated and I had witnessed animal slaughter from a young age, but I really couldn't believe what does go on with factory farming.

There is a great documentary which you can find on youtube called "Earthlings". Before I say anything else, I will say it is probably one of the hardest things you could ever watch if you have any compassion toward animals at all. I watched it because I was eating a vegan diet, it was a highly regarded documentary that won awards at movie festivals and I wanted to know. It devastated me to watch actual film footage of things that go on everyday. I couldn't imagine touching another piece of meat again. I think it really helped cement my ideals. I had given up leather when I gave up animal products but it was mostly because I figured if I wasn't eating it, I wasn't going to wear it. The film also helped me reaffirm that belief.

If someone wants to know, I'd recommend that documentary because I think it is powerful. I've never actually recommended it to anyone and I didn't even show it to my husband. The reason being is it is such a hard film to watch. I can imagine that for those that are vegan for animal rights reasons and have known what goes on really can't fathom people continuing to eat animal products or wear them.

It is a bit of ignorance is bliss and also a bit of 'well thats life'. I always just thought eating meat was part of life so even though some 'bad' things may happen, I could make some better choices but still wasn't going to change my eating habits much.

I do have hope for the future of animals and I do have hope for the future of humanity. I do think people will cut back on their animal consumption. I think also better choices will become available for people and I believe people will make those better choices.

betsysunqueen
07-17-2008, 06:33 PM
like crazy feminists burning bras and hating men, i'm a feminist but i don't hate men and i would not burn my bra(they cost too much!).

This is waaaaay off-topic, but it is actually a misconception that feminists--"crazy" or otherwise--ever burnt bras. There was a single event in the late 1960s where one group of feminists threw their old-school uncomfortable girdles and bras in a trashcan, but there was no burning involved. A newspaper article started the myth and it has continued as a way to "otherize" feminists ever since.

betsysunqueen
07-17-2008, 06:37 PM
To me, a personal choice affects only that person in any meaningful way, and as such I generally feel people can make whatever personal choices suit them. Want to dye your hair purple? Fine. Worship the flying spaghetti monster? Knock yourself out. But choosing to eat animals and their secretions not only affects the consumer, it affects the animals that are consumed in a pretty big way. Therefore, not strictly a personal decision. I am not vegan because I think it makes me look so cool and superior or something, I am vegan because I believe every living being has a right to its own life, to not be commodified and treated as mere property. So next time someone gets a little uppity about it, just understand that from some people’s point of view we are surrounded by a massive holocaust that almost no one seems to be bothered by. I try not to think about it too much because if I did I my head would explode, but yeah, it can make you a little raw sometimes.

This is so well said.

Fat Chick B Gone
07-17-2008, 06:43 PM
There is a great documentary which you can find on youtube called "Earthlings". Before I say anything else, I will say it is probably one of the hardest things you could ever watch if you have any compassion toward animals at all. I watched it because I was eating a vegan diet, it was a highly regarded documentary that won awards at movie festivals and I wanted to know. It devastated me to watch actual film footage of things that go on everyday. I couldn't imagine touching another piece of meat again. I think it really helped cement my ideals. I had given up leather when I gave up animal products but it was mostly because I figured if I wasn't eating it, I wasn't going to wear it. The film also helped me reaffirm that belief.



I second this recommendation though I must admit I was unable to sit through the whole thing. Granted I had already made up my mind that flesh and animal products are ethically wrong and didn't need any convincing. I will one day finish it.
Ignorance is bliss- perhaps but I don't think so and I do think people should know the whole story before they chow down on their steak at night. Any time I think hmm some cheese might not be so bad all it takes is a quick recall into some of the things I've learned and that cheese is about the most foul thing I could think of.
Some also dismiss this as "oh it's extreme and doesn't happen often". I don't believe this but even if it were true it happens at least a majority of the time and that makes it wrong.

Sorry this is off topic to the original post but I just personally wish someone had opened my eyes a long time ago instead of me just thinking oh it doesn't matter.

Stepping off soapbox now.

Fat Chick B Gone
07-17-2008, 06:45 PM
So next time someone gets a little uppity about it, just understand that from some people’s point of view we are surrounded by a massive holocaust that almost no one seems to be bothered by. I try not to think about it too much because if I did I my head would explode, but yeah, it can make you a little raw sometimes.

well said

shananigans
07-17-2008, 08:59 PM
Thanks for taking what I said as I meant it :) I was a bit worried someone might take offense, but I felt that ground ought to be covered in this thread.

I know that few people hold my beliefs, and that even if everyone were exposed to what I have learned they may not draw the same conclusions. I don't think people eat animal products because they're bad people, I definitely try not to be judgmental and accusatory about it. I share information and have a discussion where I see it might be welcome and received, but realize it's a sensative subject that need to be treated with some care. I do try my best to be nice to all animals, human animals included. ;)

THE Heather
07-18-2008, 06:03 AM
It is the people who don't know anything about vegetarians that see you eat fish and say "oh vegetarians must eat fish!".


I know it's been said several times before, but this is the biggest misconception of vegetarianism. For example, my sister came over (she's about seventeen now) and she saw that while she was having a burger I was having a tofu veggie stirfry. She asked, "Are you a vegetarian or something?" in which I replied, "Yes." It's no big secret. Then she went on to tell me, "Don't forget to eat some fish so you don't lose your hair."

That was a o_0 moment for me.

Of course I used it for an educating moment. :D

nelie
07-18-2008, 09:59 AM
I second this recommendation though I must admit I was unable to sit through the whole thing. Granted I had already made up my mind that flesh and animal products are ethically wrong and didn't need any convincing. I will one day finish it.
Ignorance is bliss- perhaps but I don't think so and I do think people should know the whole story before they chow down on their steak at night. Any time I think hmm some cheese might not be so bad all it takes is a quick recall into some of the things I've learned and that cheese is about the most foul thing I could think of.
Some also dismiss this as "oh it's extreme and doesn't happen often". I don't believe this but even if it were true it happens at least a majority of the time and that makes it wrong.

Sorry this is off topic to the original post but I just personally wish someone had opened my eyes a long time ago instead of me just thinking oh it doesn't matter.

Stepping off soapbox now.

Well I think that is the important part. Even if you do eat animal products, that at least you should know what goes into your food and what happens to your food. I think after I saw the documentary, I was in the process of using up the meat in my freezer by cooking it for my cats and dog. I was definitely more thoughtful about the meat I was handling, even if it wasn't for me to eat.

Oh and it also made me want to hug my cats and dog even more. I think it also was part of the reason we ended up getting a second dog.

KateB
07-18-2008, 10:42 AM
I choose not to eat red meat very often. But I DO NOT claim to be vegetarian or vegan or anything else.

I have a cousin who is vegetarian, her parents were lacto-ovo vegi, so she has ate that way all her life. BUT when Sara comes to Minnesota to visit she tells Gramma she is veggie but she will eat turkey and fish. She does this to make it easier for our 85 year old gramma who gets so stressed out trying to figure out what to cook while Sara visits. I think it is a kind guesture on Sara's part.

I actually have a few questions for the vegi and vegan crowd. I hope I don't ruffle feathers with the questions, but I am not very good at "sugar coating" things....unless it is cereal or a donut. So here goes....

#1 Let's say by some act of congress or God or moral awakening the whole world, or even the whole US became Vegan tomorrow. What would happen to all the animals currently being raised for consumption? Who then is responisble for feeding them? Do they get set free...and if so then what? Cattle have been domestic animals for generations, could they survive in the "wild" on their own? Pigs probably could survive, but look at places with populations of ferrel pigs and see the problems they cause. Also, the effect on the nations economy would be devastating.

#2 And this might just me a little gripe of mine...but I have heard many vegan hop on the soap box and berate people for eating "Another Living Thing"....Just an observation...Plants are also "Living".

I have not seen "Earthlings". We live on a farm, we raise our own chickens for eggs and meat. We have raised hogs, we have raised cattle. I know what it takes to get the steer from the barn to the freezer to the table. I admire those that can give up all animal products. I cannot imagine being vegan and trying to order a meal in a restaurant. At least not the restaurant choice we have around here. I do not however admire the ones in the vegan or vegi community who berate others for not being vegan. Just my 2 cents.

SoulBliss
07-18-2008, 11:23 AM
"Don't forget to eat some fish so you don't lose your hair."
Maybe I should post a picture of my waist length, thick and healthy hair. ;)

I actually had a woman complement me on my hair last week, saying it was so thick and beautiful. She said:"What's your secret? Do you eat a lot of protein?". I said "Well, I am vegan, that's my secret!" We then had a great conversation and I talked about omega fatty acids, organic living (we were at the Co-op). She used to be vegan herself and it was a nice discussion. :)

SoulBliss
07-18-2008, 11:29 AM
I actually have a few questions for the vegi and vegan crowd. I hope I don't ruffle feathers with the questions, but I am not very good at "sugar coating" things....unless it is cereal or a donut. So here goes....

#1 Let's say by some act of congress or God or moral awakening the whole world, or even the whole US became Vegan tomorrow. What would happen to all the animals currently being raised for consumption? Who then is responisble for feeding them? Do they get set free...and if so then what? Cattle have been domestic animals for generations, could they survive in the "wild" on their own? Pigs probably could survive, but look at places with populations of ferrel pigs and see the problems they cause. Also, the effect on the nations economy would be devastating.

#2 And this might just me a little gripe of mine...but I have heard many vegan hop on the soap box and berate people for eating "Another Living Thing"....Just an observation...Plants are also "Living".


Hey Kate, this link addresses your questions. :)

As far as plants being "living", the reality is, they don't have a central nervous system, don't bleed, aren't in the animal kingdom. We can't escape the fact that we are carbon-based beings and must eat *something* to survive. Plants are a good choice for vegans. ;)

http://www.viva.org.uk/goingveggie/top20.html

1a. If we all went vegetarian, we’d be overrun with animals?

Farmed animals are not allowed to reproduce naturally and farmers only breed animals when they can make a profit out of doing so. As demand for meat goes down over time, so fewer and fewer animals will be bred. That means that we will not be overrun by millions of farmed animals, as some people seem to imagine. Eventually, the few that are left can be allowed to go free: pigs can root around in woodlands as it is natural for them to do, sheep will graze the hillsides like deer and so on. Their populations will find their own natural levels, just like every other animal.

1b. If we all went vegetarian – all the animals would die out.

The converse of the above question – we veggies hear ‘em all! It's true that the number of animals will fall as farmers breed fewer and fewer animals as the years go by. Farmed animals live a controlled, distorted life, often filled with pain and fear. The vast majority of farmed animals are kept in indoor units where they never see the light of day. Those that are kept outside are only kept alive for a fraction of their natural lifespans before being slaughtered for meat - often in the most barbaric manner imaginable. All farmed animals are born to die at our command - a disgusting idea. Also some breeds have been so changed from their natural ancestor that it would be kinder to let them die out. For example, broiler chickens and turkeys bred for meat are often so obese that they can barely walk and suffer from crippling leg disorders. However we could set up large nature reserves for the more traditional (now rare) breeds that haven't been so changed.

There would be much more land available for reserves because most of it is used to grow crops for fattening animals at present. Also, there would be more space for forests and woods and other wildlife reservations where genuinely wild British species of animal and plants could flourish. In other countries we could encourage the breeding of our farm animal's wild ancestors - the wild pig, turkeys and jungle fowl (the forerunner of the battery hen) by stopping the destruction of their homes.

Many people forget that all farmed animals have been bred from wild animals – and that their natural ancestors need preserving.

In a vegetarian world animals would not be kept for profit and greed but would be allowed to exist in their natural state and live their life in freedom.


7. Plants scream when they’re pulled out of the ground or are cut up for food.

Yawn, yawn! This question is usually seen as a bit of a joke, but if you want a serious answer here goes!

Plants do not feel pain. They do not have pain receptors, nerves or a central nervous system. The ‘screaming’ that sensitive equipment has detected when plants are damaged is thought to be caused by movement of gasses. The cut releases the pressure allowing gases inside the plant to move towards the cut, making a noise as they do so. And even if plants did feel pain, the average meat eater is responsible for ten times more plants being killed than the average vegetarian (see Question 10) – because all the animals that meat-eaters consume, eat huge amounts of plants themselves.

SoulBliss
07-18-2008, 11:32 AM
Thanks for taking what I said as I meant it :) I was a bit worried someone might take offense, but I felt that ground ought to be covered in this thread.

I know that few people hold my beliefs, and that even if everyone were exposed to what I have learned they may not draw the same conclusions. I don't think people eat animal products because they're bad people, I definitely try not to be judgmental and accusatory about it. I share information and have a discussion where I see it might be welcome and received, but realize it's a sensative subject that need to be treated with some care. I do try my best to be nice to all animals, human animals included. ;)

Hey, I know *exactly* what all of that feels like!!! It's difficult to balance everything, for sure, especially when you've had an awakening. I'm so glad you decided to become vegan and that you now *get* it. :hug:

shananigans
07-18-2008, 11:38 AM
KateB – Fun questions, I’m all for not sugar coating things too. I’m not trying to make fun of anyone, but what’s with omnivores coming up with all these fantastical “what if” scenarios? What purpose so they serve? I’ve heard everything from the “desert island” scenarios to being trapped at an airport during a terrorist attack. Trust me, I have a survival instinct like everyone else, I would just deal the best I could and hope to get out alive.

The chances of everyone going vegan at once are close enough to zero that we might as well say the chance of that happening is nil. We will never have to deal with a situation where we suddenly have all these domesticated animals that no one is going to eat, so why even think about it? It’s a useless thought experiment. Domesticated animals are brought into existence by humans so humans can use and profit from them, if there is a drop in demand for these animal products the market will adjust and fewer animals will be bred.

Plants may be living, but they are not sentient. They have no central nervous system. This means they are not self aware and they do not feel pain. And even if you did believe that plants could suffer, it would still make sense to eat a vegan diet because it takes a lot fewer plants to support a vegan than it does an omnivore. For example, beef cattle return only 1 pound of meat for every 16 pounds of grain and soybeans they are fed. Not to mention all the extra water, fuel and other strains on the environment that animal agriculture perpetuates.

Just a note – I hope I never sound like I’m berating anyone. I like to stick to just the facts without a bunch of hyperbolic and accusatory language.

ETA: SoulBliss - I see we answered around the same time and my answer here is a bit redundant, but hey great minds and all right? ;)

nelie
07-18-2008, 12:00 PM
#1 Let's say by some act of congress or God or moral awakening the whole world, or even the whole US became Vegan tomorrow. What would happen to all the animals currently being raised for consumption? Who then is responisble for feeding them? Do they get set free...and if so then what? Cattle have been domestic animals for generations, could they survive in the "wild" on their own? Pigs probably could survive, but look at places with populations of ferrel pigs and see the problems they cause. Also, the effect on the nations economy would be devastating.

#2 And this might just me a little gripe of mine...but I have heard many vegan hop on the soap box and berate people for eating "Another Living Thing"....Just an observation...Plants are also "Living".

I have not seen "Earthlings". We live on a farm, we raise our own chickens for eggs and meat. We have raised hogs, we have raised cattle. I know what it takes to get the steer from the barn to the freezer to the table. I admire those that can give up all animal products. I cannot imagine being vegan and trying to order a meal in a restaurant. At least not the restaurant choice we have around here. I do not however admire the ones in the vegan or vegi community who berate others for not being vegan. Just my 2 cents.

#1 - Honestly, that would never happen. Look at things like fuel efficiency in cars, we are still struggling with that over many years. Large change happens over time, not all at once. Although many would not agree, but I'd like to see domestic meat go back to small time farming rather than mass production first and foremost. That would end a LOT of animal suffering by just doing that. Also, I've been to places in the US where there are wild cows and it is a beautiful thing. Although cow crossing signs on the road are a bit daunting. Wild Buffalo have been reintroduced to the US and although cows aren't native to the US, there could be a satisfactory exit plan to cows, pigs and other farm animals. I would agree that it would probably be devastating to the economy all at once but a slow change would be beneficial to the economy and also the environment.

#2 - I've never heard of anyone say they don't eat animals because they are living. Things I've heard is that they don't eat anything with a face or that had a mother or is of a certain classification (basically animal). I don't anything that is classified as an animal. Its pretty simple.

#3 - I also thought for years that I knew what it took to get meat from the barn to the table but honestly, I was wrong. Factory farming and the commercialism of meat is a lot different than small time farming. Animals are tortured without regard. They are tortured while they are being raised and at their slaughter. I know a lot of vegans don't like the idea of 'happy' animals on small time farms but I think that is 100 times better than what goes on currently. Earthlings won't show you animals being taken from regular farms and being slaughtered in a respectful manner. They won't show you hens pecking on the dirt. It won't show you any images of farming that people are sold to believe.

kaplods
07-18-2008, 02:42 PM
In an ideal world, I would love to raise my own animals for food. My husband thinks I'm nuts. He thinks I'm too soft-hearted to be able to kill or see an animal killed for the dinner table.

Maybe he's right. And if he is, then I probably should become vegan. I think it's actually a shame that most people don't WANT to think of the animal their food was. Let's not call it cow or pig, let's call it beef or pork or bacon to distance ourselves from the reality that it is an actual animal on our plates.
I think my husband and my father (growing up on farms) have a higher respect and love of animals than I ever will, because they had close, loving relationship with animals that became their dinner. To the modern person (meat eating or not) that seems barbaric, but I accept that, and admit my barbarism.

Maybe it's because I love the carnivores so much (wolves are a passion of mine) that I don't see the mere act of eating meat as inhumane. I believe it is my right both God-given, and given my position on the food chain. I also believe that as humans we have abused that right, and that needs to be rectified.

My husband was raised, and is devout Missour Synod Lutheran, and I was raised Roman Catholic and converted to Missouri Synod Lutheran when we married. We were both taught that God gave us stewardship over the animals and we had to take that responsibility seriously. My husband was raised on a farm, and while I was a city girl, I was one generation removed from the farm, and as a child visited the farms of family members frequently.


My husband raised rabbits for food as a boy. Gathering eggs and playing with the sheep and lambs that were friendly, was about the extent of my farm experience (and hunting for barn kittens - we were allowed to look, but not touch, as barn cat mammas are dangerous and will teach a hard-learned lesson about touching their babies). I had a rabbit in junior high and high school (when rabbit coats were very "in"). I wanted a rabbit coat so badly, but I ended up buying an imitation one instead because I thought it would be weird and creepy to feed and play with my pet rabbit while wearing a rabbit-fur coat.

Even though my husband was raising the bunnies for meat, he loved each and every one. A pack of feral dogs were able to snag the bunnies legs through the mesh of the cages and eat their feet to the bone. He came out to feed his bunnies and found them all in shock, bleeding to death - every one. He had to kill every one of his bunnies so they wouldn't suffer. Then he went and got his gun and sat on the bunny hutches until the feral dogs came back and he killed each of them.

I still don't know what to make of that story. It makes me cry for those bunnies, for the dogs, and for the 12 year old boy that became my husband. Now the life-expectancy of those bunnies in the wild would have been much shorter, and they would have died even more brutally, but they would have been free and would have had at least a chance to escape. The dogs were only trying to survive, and irresponsible owners made them the risk and nuissance they became.

My husband (and my father, as well) will rant about people who take on the responsibility of an animal and fail to follow through. When I was a kid, on a trip home we saw a cow with it's head caught in a fence. I guess we were just stupid, thinking the cow would figure it out herself, or the farmer would come and help her. We told our dad, and he threw a fit because we hadn't gone to the farmhouse to get the critter help. Gosh, I was young, but I still remember that and choke up that we didn't think to help.

The thing is, now that we don't raise it ourselves, people eat ALOT more meat, more frequently than they used to, even more than the people on farms ever did, especially BIG animals. My father ate chicken growing up to the point that he was sick of it. Beef and pork was for special occasions with lots of family to share. And even with the big animals, we don't use the whole animal anymore either, discarding the "best" (nutritious) parts. The bias is so strong that people don't even want to feed their pets the nutritious "byproducts only the muscle meat will do.

We don't eat the whole animal, and we're mightly picky about the animals we eat. We're wasteful and ignorant of the sacrifices made, so that we can have a steak.

You'd think that someone who thought that way would be vegan, wouldn't you?

I think we need to rethink our wasteful ways. In many other countries (even some of the ones we americans would consider "civilized"), rather than using pesticides on their crops, people gather and EAT the insects that would eat their crops. Some are specially bred or "farmed" but others are still gathered.

I don't know if I could eat insects (and given the pesticise use, insects in the US probably are dangerous to eat in bulk). It's far too tabboo in our culture, but it is an ecologically sound practice.

Farmed fish are high in mercury (which I still don't fathom - shouldn't we be BETTER able to control heavy metal content in FARMED fish - what on earth are people doing wrong).

I think most people can't fathom giving up meat, so they're willing to overlook the abuses and barbarism, or pretend it isn't happening. The don't know and don't want to know what it takes to get meat to their table.

In learning of the complete idiotic, cruel, and wasteful practices, I do feel I need to do something about it. Rather than giving up meat (I'm willing to chalk it up to unadulterated selfishness) I've chosen to eat less and less meat, particularly grocery store meat. I'm lucky to live in a part of the country in which there are people raising meat and dairy and egg animals as I would raise them if they were my own.

While I think that it is difficult to convince people (I can't even convince myself) to give up meat, I think it's very possible to show people that there are equally delicious less or no meat options that have the added benefit of being healthier and cheaper. For our health, our finances, and our planet we need to start exploring those options. THAT is my mission.

I think when people are committed to an ideal (whether the ideal is veganism or the ideal that it's their "right" to eat meat) they don't want to hear about compromise positions. Which I think is a shame, because I think compromise position often get more accomplished.

For example, my religious belief is that abortion is wrong more often than it is right. Sometimes I think it is an inevitable choice. However the vast majority of abortions are done within 36 hours of a woman finding out she is pregnant. It makes me wonder, if sometimes (if not often) the choice is one of panic, rather than a true consideration of the decision. It seems very, very wrong to me that it takes less time and paperwork to get a gun than to kill a child or that I can't get in to see a doctor when I've got bronchitis for at least a week, but I could get an abortion within 2 days. But, a waiting period or application process for an abortion is completely unacceptable to both the pro-life and pro-choice extremes. The religiously motivated could never agree to a compromise position, because "it's still wrong," even though such a compromise would probably see a drastic reduction in abortions. For pro-choice, modifiying the choice even a little (even if insuring that the person is making the right choice for themselves and not doing something they might regret) is one step towards the slippery slope that could revoke a woman's choice.

I think that's true for the "meat" debate as well. I think a compromise position would accomplish a lot more, and yet I fully understand why compromise is unacceptable to those on both ends of the argument.


Is there a solution? Maybe not, but I think that one way I can make a difference is showing people options, and my reasoning (and admitting it is as flawed as any other human being's). I like proving to the hard-core "carnivores" that they can save money and eat healthier (the kills and wastes fewer animals argument, really doesn't come up) by making great low-meat meals. I enjoyed sharing my great lunch find with my TOPS group (virtually all of which are typical midwestern meat and dairy lovers), and explaining that the meals were vegan - and what that meant.

I don't know how many people are, like me, "in the middle" of this debate, because we really usually only hear the extremes. People in the middle, are generally despised as "fence sitters," people who are refusing to take a position, rather than people with a position of their own. That's a shame, because the moderate position is a "real" position. I'm not "wishy-washy." I know what I believe and why. It is frustrating to be in the middle, because you "get it from both ends" in a sense. Ah, but who said any of this is ever easy.

nelie
07-18-2008, 04:20 PM
kaplods - (As much as some vegans hate it) I think the Omnivore's Dilemma and other similar books have brought up the idea of compromise. The compromise involving actually KNOWING where our food comes from and making better choices. The current situation is deadly not only to the animals but to ourselves, the environment and also vegetable crops. Look at the rise of salmonella and e. coli being encountered in vegetables. It is because we have poisoned our farm animals who poison the earth where we grow our vegetables. It is crazy. Something will need to be done. As I said before, I do have hope for ourselves and the animals. I think people will make better choices which includes finding better sources of meat and reducing animal product consumption overall.

I went to a vegan diet due to health concerns, not animal rights but I have learned quite a bit about the animal rights concerns. I would recommend anyone read "The China Study" as well as "Eat to Live" to learn about the health concerns related to eating animal products. They are insightful for understanding the disease that we encounter and possible ways to be healthier through the food choices we eat.

I would also say I love the food I eat. I did try meat a couple months after giving it up and I thought it tasted gross. The foods I eat are flavorful and wonderful. I look forward to eating the variety of foods I do eat. I don't have to worry about 'meat juice' when cooking or not being able to taste the broth in my soup because it has raw meat in it. I really do wish I had made this change many years ago. I know many may feel it is restrictive to not eat meat or to not eat as much meat but I have found it very liberating and enjoyable.

kaplods
07-18-2008, 06:03 PM
It's hard to get people outside their comfort zones. I was raised in a family more open minded than many, and yet I am still the VERY black sheep, and I hardly consider myself bohemian. I bought some flavored nori strips at a wonderful gourmet shop in Bloomington, IL (called World Gourmet Foods). On Saturday afternoons they have open house tastings, and I've never been able to get my folks to go there. They live within a few miles and are completely missing out (they don't think so, because they "don't like that weird sh****").

Anyway, I was snacking on them, and my mom asked to try one (this was a breakthrough for her, actually) but she not only spit it out - she wiped her tongue). I started laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. I mean, I understand she didn't like it, but wiping her tongue?" I don't know why it just struck me as funny.

It just seems crazy that in a world where endless variety is available, people seem to be getting pickier rather than more flexible in their eating habits. I just don't get it.

My parents would eat Indian food, but my dad was getting sick from it. Now the unfamiliar spices and the fact that he was eating to bursting and eating ALOT more vegetables didn't factor in his reasoning as to why it was making him sick. Now he thinks that they put "dope" in the food (or at any rate "bad" stuff), and won't eat indian anymore. I don't know, I think maybe he's going senile, I don't remember him being that bigoted when I was a kid.

It's amazing how very different people's perspectives and opinions can be, and being able to talk about it stretches a person's mind and heart I think. Too often we're so afraid of offending and being offended that we just keep our mouths shut and our opinions to ourself, and don't want to hear anyone else's opinions either. Makes for a very tiny world. I like a bigger world, a much bigger world, and I'd rather disagree with people and learn what they think than suggest that we try to keep our mouths shut and just avoid each other.

shananigans
07-18-2008, 07:07 PM
It's amazing how very different people's perspectives and opinions can be, and being able to talk about it stretches a person's mind and heart I think. Too often we're so afraid of offending and being offended that we just keep our mouths shut and our opinions to ourself, and don't want to hear anyone else's opinions either. Makes for a very tiny world. I like a bigger world, a much bigger world, and I'd rather disagree with people and learn what they think than suggest that we try to keep our mouths shut and just avoid each other.

:cp:

Amen, sister!

nelie
07-21-2008, 04:44 PM
You know I actually thought of this thread this weekend (isn't that sad?).

I went out to a vegan restaurant which actually has vegetarian in the name of the restaurant. The restaurant offers a variety of wannabe meats (that are really good) such as duck, chicken, beef, pork, tuna and interesting things such as a whole fish fillet and soft shell crab. I'm amazed at their dishes honestly and although I generally stay away from the fake meats, they are really good. Anyway, a small group of people came in and at least one person hadn't been to the restaurant before and another person was explaining that even though there are meat dishes on the menu, they are vegetarian substitutes as it is a vegetarian restaurant. The person thought that the seafood was actually seafood though and the person had to explain a couple times that no, its vegetarian and thus it is made of plant based items to create something fish like.

As a side note, I also reflected in that I know of 2 restaurants with vegetarian in the name and they both are vegan. I just thought it was something interesting. Partially because vegetarian is probably a familiar term and may already be a stretch for many. Vegan? That is just crazy :)

kaplods
07-21-2008, 05:30 PM
I've been told that in the USA, the term "vegetarian" was originally meant to apply only to what we now call vegan (and then later was called "strict vegetarianism" before the term vegan was coined).

I think that the original "vegetarians" probably felt much the same about the term vegan as some vegans and vegetarians feel about "flexitarian," and the debate we're having now.

I think as more people care about what they eat, there will probably be more and more terms coined as people try to communicate their dietary viewpoint especially as it applies to getting their needs met in restaurants and social dining situations (I think with family, we're all able to duke it out, with varying degrees of success and level of explanation, on our own).

But as to people not "getting" that the vegetarian restaurant had "no meat in the meat," I think it's a constant amazement to me how easily people are confused in any slightly unfamiliar situation.

For example the thai/hmong restaurant that my husband and I love inhabits a building that has "always" (at least the last 10 to 15 years) been a family restaurant (fried fish on friday, breakfast all day, and apparently cinammon rolls). It's changed hands almost every year, but the menu has remained pretty much unchanged no matter who the owner.

When the hmong couple bought the restaurant, they put up signage that made it very clear that the new restaurant was asian. Sy-am Garden. Anyone who knows that Thailand was Siam, should know to expect thai food. Anyone who doesn't know that, should still be able to at least recognize that the restaurant is asian, by the huge picture of a bowl and chopsticks on the sign. If they're still not sure, when they enter the restaurant, the smell of southeast asian spices (green onion, ginger, galangal, cilantro) and the thai artwork on the walls SHOULD tip them off as to the nature of the restaurant.

When they first opened they had problems with customers coming and and expecting the "old" menu (the same menu that could obviously never support a successful restaurant, considering the owners changed every year). One lady complained (very, very angrily) that she couldn't get the cinammon roll she'd "always" gotten there (yeah, when it was a different restaurant). We saw ladies come in, sit down, look over the menu... and we asked if they'd ever been there before, and they said no, and we told them that everything we had tried on the menu was fabulous... and the told us they'd come in for mushroom cheeseburgers, and left annoyed that the menu didn't contain mushroom cheeseburgers (in an obviously southeast asian restaurant?!).

We thought that the odd confusion people were having would have died down by now (the restaurant has been open five months now), but the owners say they are still having problems with customers being angry about the menu and items that aren't made "right" (because the thai ginger chicken is different than "chinese" ginger chicken they're used to). Thai spring rolls are soft (and super yummy) with fresh/raw veggies. Chinese spring rolls are deep fried - even though the explain this to everyone who orders them (they're just now realizing that I don't need the explanation because I've ordered them enough), there are still people who complain when they get them that they're not "crunchy" on the outside or "cooked" inside, so obviously the people are ignoring EVERYTHING that their server says to them, when they explained the dish.

It makes you wonder what is going on between some people's ears.

lizziep
07-22-2008, 04:06 AM
At your suggestion I watched "Earthlings" tonight. I haven't processed everything I saw yet- but I do get the feeling that everything is ruined forever. And I think I'm okay with that.

I think the key with anything you do in life- is to educate yourself as much as you can. I want to make an educated decision whether or not to go to Mcdonalds and have a big mac - will I want that now that I've seen that most of the meat sent to them comes from dairy cows that have dropped dead on the job? Perhaps not...

To say the least- I will definitely be more conscientious of my purchases and consumption. This thread has been enlightening and I have enjoyed it a lot.

Nelie- I think you're right on the vegetarian/vegan restaurants. I wonder if the general population thinks of wheat grass and mystery foods when they think of Vegan and just think of veggies and grains when they think of Vegetarian.

kaplods - your post was very thought-provoking. i am generally a middle-road fence sitter on many issues that come up. i am starting to think that might not be a bad place to me. everyone has to meet in the middle or never meet at all, really.

lizziep
07-26-2008, 12:30 AM
aww- i don't wanna be the tread killer!

Well if I did kill the thread- I guess thanks for a great read and giving one on the fencer a lot to consider! This thread and that documentary were definitely an eye opener for me anyway.

Robot
07-26-2008, 10:47 AM
I remember watching Earthlings. I couldn't watch it all the way through. That's usually how I am when it comes to animal suffering. I know it exists and I can't stand it. I remember watching a hidden camera at a fur farm and crying for three days straight because the animal was still alive after it was skinned.

And my family wonders why I refuse to eat meat or wear anything that was ripped off an animal's body. (sorry that sounded so graphic)

j45rpm
07-26-2008, 11:22 AM
But I think for a lot of people, it's simply the quickest way of describing the food they eat. ****, if given a choice I sometimes tick 'vegetarian' on menus for things, simply because I love ALL vegetables, but with meat I can be a bit funny.

Precisely! Given the peculiarities of what I eat, when it comes to menus at events or friends wanting to know what to cook, etc., it's sometimes easier to just say vegetarian, even though I normally do eat chicken and some fish.

My parents don't eat red meat, so I don't eat red meat. (I tried a hamburger once when I was 8-it made me ill. That was my sole experience!) I don't eat pork, bacon, etc. thanks to growing up in a kosher household, and I don't eat shellfish for the same reason. I pretty much eat a vegetarian diet with chicken and some flaky white fishes thrown in. Do I call myself a vegetarian in normal life? No. But again, at times, it's easier to ask for the vegetarian option or menu than to go through all the exceptions to my diet. :P

Fat Chick B Gone
07-26-2008, 11:47 AM
I pretty much eat a vegetarian diet with chicken and some flaky white fishes thrown in. Do I call myself a vegetarian in normal life? No. But again, at times, it's easier to ask for the vegetarian option or menu than to go through all the exceptions to my diet. :P

That's great and I'm happy for you but you can easily just ask for non-meat, chicken or fish dinner rather then mucking up the definition!

shananigans
07-26-2008, 11:59 AM
That's great and I'm happy for you but you can easily just ask for non-meat, chicken or fish dinner rather then mucking up the definition!

+ 1

JulieJ08
07-26-2008, 07:16 PM
That's great and I'm happy for you but you can easily just ask for non-meat, chicken or fish dinner rather then mucking up the definition!

I sympathize with a lot that's been said, but I think that is too much. He asked for the vegetarian menu or option. He (or she) didn't declare himself a vegetarian. If someone then assumed it, they're the one with a problem.

Fat Chick B Gone
07-26-2008, 07:36 PM
I sympathize with a lot that's been said, but I think that is too much. He asked for the vegetarian menu or option. He (or she) didn't declare himself a vegetarian. If someone then assumed it, they're the one with a problem.


Too much to specify 1 of 3 options in order to not confuse the definition? I don't think so. What is difficult is being vegan and having to explain no animals at all (yes fish and chicken are animals), no dairy (yes whey is a dairy product) no eggs or other byproducts. My whole point is that with clear concise definitions it would be easier for everyone - veg or not.

PhotoChick
07-26-2008, 08:51 PM
I personally don't see any problem with a non-veggie ordering a veggie meal or option. Heck I eat in vegetarian restaurants all the time cause the food is damned good! :) But that doesn't mean I'm proclaiming myself vegetarian any more than eating chicken kung pao means I'm proclaiming myself Chinese. ;)

>

Fat Chick B Gone
07-26-2008, 08:55 PM
^^^ I'm all for people ordering veggie meals as often as possible - don't want any confusion on that!

suecd
07-27-2008, 12:13 PM
I've found this a very interesting conversation overall. I speak as one who stopped eating red meat at age 13 and chicken at age 18. (I'm now 41.) During that time, sometimes I've eaten fish and sometimes I haven't, and I admit, it is usually easier just to say I'm a vegetarian (because for many years I have been) or to say, I'm mostly vegetarian but occasionally eat fish. I understand the desire for pure definitions, but with the vast range of things that people eat, for all kinds of reasons, I just don't think that's going to happen. When I was younger, I used to have to explain and defend my decision over and over again, but now, not so much. I appreciate that.

I've spent a lot of time in India, where many people are vegetarians, and the definition of vegetarian there is that you don't eat eggs either. So, if you're getting breakfast on a train, the non-veg option is an omelet, and the veg option is a vegetable patty or something like that. (At dinner, it's more likely there would actually be meat in the non-veg option.) And even within the non-veg population, Hindus don't eat beef and Muslims don't eat pork, so the meat that is readily available are usually limited to chicken, mutton and lamb. I really appreciate that vegetarian food is available everywhere, that there's always a veg. option (and there's no question--there won't be any meat in it or any eggs, and that's that), and that no one thinks it's any kind of big deal or needs to ask you why you don't eat meat. Sometimes people are surprised that a Westerner doesn't eat meat, but not even that much anymore.

JulieJ08
07-27-2008, 01:23 PM
Too much to specify 1 of 3 options in order to not confuse the definition? I don't think so. What is difficult is being vegan and having to explain no animals at all (yes fish and chicken are animals), no dairy (yes whey is a dairy product) no eggs or other byproducts. My whole point is that with clear concise definitions it would be easier for everyone - veg or not.

You can't really be saying that it's not ok to choose the vegetarian menu unless you point out that you're not really vegetarian. Personally, I think it would be ridiculous to hold up ordering because you have to stop and explain that you're ordering vegetarian food, but you feel you have to point out that you're not vegetarian.

shananigans
07-29-2008, 12:18 PM
You can't really be saying that it's not ok to choose the vegetarian menu unless you point out that you're not really vegetarian. Personally, I think it would be ridiculous to hold up ordering because you have to stop and explain that you're ordering vegetarian food, but you feel you have to point out that you're not vegetarian.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that anyone need explain themselves every time they order a vegetarian option, I think what people are saying is it would be better to not identify yourself as vegetarian to people that you eat with when you may on occasions eat fish or chicken or whatever meat in their presence. At least not with a bit of explanation so as to avoid confusion. Not really a huge deal to me, but it would help preempt those annoying questions or the inconvenience of constantly having to explain exactly what "vegetarian" or "vegan" means. I have had people ask me if I will eat chicken or fish after I tell them I am vegan. :rolleyes:

OracleSlave
07-29-2008, 04:15 PM
hmmm, holier than thou attitude is so not very nice :D

Fat Chick B Gone
07-29-2008, 04:32 PM
hmmm, holier than thou attitude is so not very nice :D

No one has been holier then thou.

nelie
07-29-2008, 04:41 PM
I would say if you think the attitude is 'holier than thou', then you haven't read the thread.

And on the 'vegetarian menu option' thread, I think that if you ask for vegetarian options, then it doesn't mean you are declaring yourself a vegetarian. One restaurant I go to occasionally has an awesome vegetarian menu that has things that aren't on its normal menu. Although I went there before I stopped eating meat, I would look at the vegetarian menu for further options.

One of my favorite moments is when I told someone I didn't eat eggs, they asked if I was vegetarian.

kaplods
07-29-2008, 05:43 PM
I worked with a guy for several years whose wife and daughters were vegan. He's not quite as strict with his diet as they are, so he doesn't consider himself a vegan, even though he eats that way the vast majority oof the time. He does consider himself a vegetarian even though on extremely rare occasions he does eat fish. From what he said, their household is 100% vegan, but a few times a year, mostly around holiday time he eats something outside of the house that his wife wouldn't approve of (it seems they have a bit of a "don't ask, don't tell" arrangement).

Even though I know he will occasionally eat fish, I still consider him a vegetarian, especially since I've never actually seen him eat fish (or any non-vegan food for that matter, except a bite of cheesecake at a holiday party that prompted the discussion). I realize that for some vegans "never means never," but it in terms of practicality, I would consider him vegetarian, if not vegan. Even if it is only two or three times a year, I suppose eaing dairy, eggs or fish, does technically by strict definition make him "not a vegan," and maybe even "not a vegetarian," for practicality's sake I would consider him both. At least in the sense that if I were inviting him to dinner (with or without his family) I would not assume to serve eggs or dairy or fish, just because he says he eats those on rare occasion. I would serve a vegan meal (assuming he's the guest of honor and not one of many. If it were a huge gathering, I would make sure there were a few vegan options).

Considering that this guy probably has fewer than six meals a year that are not vegan, and maybe two that aren't vegetarian, I have no problem with either the terms vegan or vegetarian being applied to him. Though I understand that some might. I don't think that it's this guy, though who is muddying the definition.

In part, it's people wanting to be vegetarian and vegan, and maybe not living up to their own expectations for themselves, or they may change those expectations. Can a person "have been a vegan" for only six months. I think the way we use the term, it can be safely said that many of us would say yes. That a person can have been a vegetarian and/or vegan, just as one could have been (but no longer be) an omnivore.

Now, how often can the status change legitimately? If I do not eat or use any animal or animal products during the summer months, am I an omnivore October through May and a vegan June through September? I'd say no. However, can a person be a vegan, and "slip" either because they're not yet skilled or disciplined enough to eat as cleanly as they'd like. How many "slips" negate vegan or vegetarian status? How many times can a person "become" a vegan or vegetarian? If it's a finite number, then what seperates a recurrent vegan/vegetarian from an omnivore? Is it the number of times (then what's the number) is it the intent, is it the duration (and what is that duration).

If I decide to become vegan or vegetarian, can I start "calling myself" so right away, or do I need to wait a certain amount of time? If I slip, do I have to start calling myself an omnivore again, do I have to say "I'm trying to be vegan?"

Often giving up meat and animal products is a process, and I think there will always be those people caught in the middle of a process. As a result, they may be using the terms incorrectly, imprecisely, prematurely or inappropriately, or people observing may do it for them. I'm not sure that much can be done about that.

mandalinn82
07-29-2008, 05:56 PM
Kaplods - that was a fascinating post. I think that labels are convenient, but they have their problems...labels of all kinds, not just the labels around food, eating plan, etc.

This post made me consider all kinds of labels, how I use them, and how they may be applied to me. Definitely interesting and eye-opening!

nelie
07-29-2008, 07:28 PM
kaplods - One reason I don't say I'm vegan is because of some minor 'slips' that weren't really slips. Now of course someone can eat something because they have a craving or desire once in a while and obviously they have their own reasons. My own reasons are that I have an eating disorder (big surprise). Sometimes my brain 'rebels' and says 'eat this, eat this, eat this'. I'd tell myself that I know dairy is bad and a decent amount of dairy would probably send my stomach into convulsions. So I slipped (ok fell) into milk chocolate.

Chocolate, sugar and all that can have a strange hold on us, me especially when I go whacky. Next time, I hope that even if I do go crazy with food, that I choose something better or hopefully I won't go crazy with food again. I do love chocolate and milk chocolate was always one of my favorites though so I can't say I will never have another piece of chocolate that contains some dairy although I do plan to stay away from milk chocolate.

The other reason I would say is I am pretty careful with making sure milk or eggs aren't in products I eat but sometimes I am not as diligent as I'd like to be. Some people are great at making sure that nothing they eat has those 2 things but the real truth is I eat out and sometimes I just do the best I can. Like eating out at an Indian restaurant and asking if there is yogurt/ghee in an item but never really being 100% sure or eating a veggie burger at a restaurant and accepting that it might have a little egg in it but it is the only option or something like that.

shananigans
07-30-2008, 10:45 AM
Great post with some great questions kaplods. I love that you think these things through so thoroughly.

In my mind (and I'm sure not everyone would agree, this is just how I've worked it out) there are essentially 2 kinds of vegans, dietary vegans and ethical vegans. Now this is not to say I think dietary vegans are somehow inherently unethical or less ethical people or anything like that, but their primary motivation for eating a vegan diet is for health or other reasons, not ethical concerns relating to animals. A dietary vegan might wear leather or occasionally eat not vegan things.

Considering that this guy probably has fewer than six meals a year that are not vegan, and maybe two that aren't vegetarian, I have no problem with either the terms vegan or vegetarian being applied to him. Though I understand that some might. I don't think that it's this guy, though who is muddying the definition.

I would call this guy a dietary vegan. I don't know him or his situation, but it sounds like veganism is something he does mostly for his wife. But since he apparently is not ethically opposed to eating animals and animal products (or at least not enough to prevent him from consuming them occasionally) I wouldn't consider him an ethical vegan.

Now, how often can the status change legitimately? If I do not eat or use any animal or animal products during the summer months, am I an omnivore October through May and a vegan June through September? I'd say no. However, can a person be a vegan, and "slip" either because they're not yet skilled or disciplined enough to eat as cleanly as they'd like. How many "slips" negate vegan or vegetarian status? How many times can a person "become" a vegan or vegetarian? If it's a finite number, then what seperates a recurrent vegan/vegetarian from an omnivore? Is it the number of times (then what's the number) is it the intent, is it the duration (and what is that duration).

For me, it is all about intent. If a person is seriously opposed to the commodification and exploitation of animals for food and other products and decides to do everything they can (within reason) to avoid all animal products, by-products, products tested on animals, boycott entertainment that exploits animals, etc. I would call that person an ethical vegan. Now that isn't to say vegans don't make mistakes now and again. I was at a picnic munching on some chips a few weeks ago when my label reading radar went off, and sure enough there was lactose in the dill pickle flavored potato chips (why? I have no idea). I don't consider myself "not vegan" for occasionally making these errors. In a world where rubbers and plastics may have rendered animal products in them, even driving a vehicle with tires could be "not vegan" strictly speaking. It's all about being aware, educating yourself, doing the best you can, and above all giving a hoot. Vegans are not apathetic to the suffering of the living, breathing, sentient beings we share the world with and will do what they can to avoid contributing to that suffering.

The original meaning of the word vegan as coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, founder of the UK Vegan Society, is as follows:

The word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

So it would seem the original meaning of the term vegan meant ethical vegan, not dietary. That's not to say I think dietary vegans can't think of themselves as a type of vegan, I think they are, but I think it also should be noted that their brand of veganism deviates somewhat from the original intent.

I know a lot of people struggle with many issues when giving up animal products of any kind at any level, they can be external and internal, and quite complicated. I don't want to point fingers of blame or judge, I am far from perfect myself and went through my own complicated adjustment period before this way of living became relatively effortless for me. I wish I were a more informed consumer, I wish I never bought frivolous things manufactured in Asia, I could stand to devote more of my time and resources to charity and helping others in my community. It's all a process and we do what we can, and make our own priorities. I applaud anyone who cares about the world and its inhabitants and at least tries to make informed choices to make this a better place for everyone to live. I think we all know there are far too many people who just don't care. :(

JulieJ08
07-30-2008, 11:42 AM
But again, at times, it's easier to ask for the vegetarian option or menu than to go through all the exceptions to my diet. :P

That's great and I'm happy for you but you can easily just ask for non-meat, chicken or fish dinner rather then mucking up the definition!

I don't think anyone is suggesting that anyone need explain themselves every time they order a vegetarian option,

Perhaps you can see where it rather looked that way. But I'm quite glad if that is not what is being suggested.

The thread has been most interesting, lots to think about, certainly.

kaplods
07-30-2008, 02:32 PM
I have to admit that I did also initially read it as Julie did, that asking for a vegetarian option should have been avoided, and instead asking for a non-meat alternative.

Personally, I think that's splitting hairs. If I am asking for a vegan or vegetarian option, I do not feel I am "impersonating a veg*n," but rather making a choice for that meal. In a busy restaurant, the waitstaff does not need to know that I am choosing a veg*n option, but am not veg*n. Especially if telling them so might inspire them to be less careful with my food (we can put butter in, or cook it on the grill with the beef because she's not a "real" vegan).

Although I am not an ethical vegan, I want my food to contain what I expect it to contain. That shouldn't be too much to ask for, for any of us. My sister ordered a salad the other night with the walnuts "on the side" so that she could control the amount of nuts. She received her salad with nuts on the side - and on the salad as well (good thing she wasn't allergic, and asking for the "on the side" to give her nuts to my mom or dad who had ordered the same salad).

I told her that she should have complained, but instead she said nothing and picked around the nuts in the salad. While that was an acceptably effective solution for her, it did nothing to teach the waitstaff or the kitchen to pay attention to special orders. And I think that is a fundamental problem in many restaurants. And when people do not complain, it only encourages further carelessness. Carelessness that can impact upon a person's ethics, religion, and even health and safety.

shananigans
07-30-2008, 04:21 PM
Personally, I think that's splitting hairs. If I am asking for a vegan or vegetarian option, I do not feel I am "impersonating a veg*n," but rather making a choice for that meal. In a busy restaurant, the waitstaff does not need to know that I am choosing a veg*n option, but am not veg*n. Especially if telling them so might inspire them to be less careful with my food (we can put butter in, or cook it on the grill with the beef because she's not a "real" vegan).

I 100% agree that you should tell a server whatever you need to tell them in order to get what you want. Sometimes that can be difficult to communicate that, and as hard as you may try could still result in failure. I am quite sure that my food is contaminated with animal products when I go out to eat, even if incidentally. But I don't live in a vegan bubble and I do the best I can. If my food arrives with something obvious like cheese or sour cream or anything else I requested not come with my meal, I send it back. I make servers check if the soup is made with chicken or beef stock (why do they insist on ruining perfectly good otherwise vegetarian soups :?:) and I avoid anything if the server doesn't know the answer to my question or I suspect they don't know. I will occasionally tell servers I am allergic to dairy and/or eggs if I have reason to believe they will not take my requests seriously otherwise. Sadly, threat of a lawsuit is something restaurants will pay attention to, but dietary choices like veganism are seldom give equal respect. I hope no one with allergies would be mad at me for using this tactic, and I sure wouldn't be mad at anyone for using the term vegan or vegetarian when communicating with a server in a restaurant in order to get what they want. But even in that instance you don't have to say "I'm veg*an", you can just ask "is this menu item veg*n?". I almost never tell a server I’m vegan due to the confusion/ignorance surrounding the term, I find it much more useful to just determine what is or is not in whatever I might be interested in ordering.

Splitting hairs perhaps, but isn't fun with semantics what this thread is all about?

tofuhead
07-30-2008, 05:19 PM
When I was vegan, I would tell the wait staff that I was severely allergic to dairy and eggs because it was easier than "I don't eat that" and they were much more careful about the food prep.

When I started eating dairy and eggs again, I did have some "digestive issues" but eventually got over them.

Having been veg*n for twenty years, I have certainly noticed a much better response to not only the food allergen issue, but to vegetarianism in general. I would get weird looks 20 years ago, but now more than not, I get "cool, so's my whatever!"

kaplods
07-30-2008, 05:23 PM
But Shananigans, you're arguing against a point I never made. I was saying that it is splitting hairs to say that asking for a vegetarian or vegan option (not calling myself a vegetarian or vegan) unjustly implies I am a vegetarian. I'm not talking about lying in order to "impersonate" a veg*n in order to get what I want - I just don't find it necessary to clarify that I am NOT veg*n when asking for a veg*n option.

I think that assuming someone is veg*n because you see them asking for and eating a veg*n meal, is not a logical assumption.

If I ask for a vegan or vegetarian option, I don't think I should have to explain myself to the server (that I eat meat in some circumstances, or under which conditions I do so), because frankly it's really none of their business. If in response to my request, they asked questions (say they remembered that I had ordered a non-vegan entree in the past), I would answer honestly and openly, but would keep the answer brief and appropriate to the situation.

shananigans
07-30-2008, 05:52 PM
But Shananigans, you're arguing against a point I never made. I was saying that it is splitting hairs to say that asking for a vegetarian or vegan option (not calling myself a vegetarian or vegan) unjustly implies I am a vegetarian.

Sorry if my post was confusing, but I think we basically agree. :dizzy:

I was just explaining some of the difficulties I have in restaurants in general and ways to deal with them.

kaplods
07-31-2008, 04:55 PM
Yes, I think we really are saying the same thing. I just wanted to make it clear that I don't think that asking for a vegetarian option needed further clarification or implied that I was identifying myself as a vegetarian as FatChickBGone seemed to be arguing (at least Julie and I seem to have read it that way).

I tend to avoid even the smallest of lies (except of the "oh, what a beautiful baby," variety - when people show you photographs of their newborn with a mishapen squished head fresh from the birth canal), so I wouldn't think of saying I was a vegetarian or vegan, even if it meant answering a bunch of questions or explaining myself thoroughly. I would ask for the vegetarian or vegan option if that was what I wanted, and leave it at that.

Though I certainly can understand someone who is shy or doesn't welcome a lot of questions, just saying "yes," when being asked if they are vegan or vegetarian" rather than going into a complicated littany of what they eat, when and why. If like the guy with the vegan family, they eat vegan most of the time (whether that's 80 or 99.9% of the time), I can certainly see why someone might be tempted to give a short, if somewhat inaccurate response rather than going itno a long, precise one. I understand the frustration with the confusion this can cause, but I also understand people using language imprecisely, but practically. It happens in many, many situations, and probably causes similar concerns.

JulieJ08
08-01-2008, 11:59 AM
I tend to avoid even the smallest of lies (except of the "oh, what a beautiful baby," variety - when people show you photographs of their newborn with a mishapen squished head fresh from the birth canal),

I go with "Oh, how precious!" 100% true ;)

Back to the regularly scheduled topic.

ollie27
08-02-2008, 05:22 PM
hmmm....interesting thread. 'twas fun and thought provoking to read. in my very, very humble opinions:

in response to the initial question i think it is because being hypocritical is human nature. i say this not to accuse, but from a philosophical standpoint and include myself in this thing called human nature. even gandhi denied his wife medication, but accepted it when his life was in danger, and mother theresa flew first class, and some dude says he is vegan and drinks cows milk. we are imperfect creatures.

also, language is power. and for us ethical veg*ns, our choice does not end at our lifestyle, but we see veg*nism as a movement--a movement to free animals and also free ourselves from our (unnecessary) dependency on them. and as with any political or social movement--language is power. i know we can't get into politics, but name any movement and i can point to a phrase one side or the other claimed as rhetoric to distort truth and then the lines became fuzzy and the meaning was lost. it's important to our movement for this not to happen. for meaning not to be lost. for purpose not to be lost.

unlike religion, as someone said using "jewish" as an example, veg*nism has very easy, tangeable definitions as soulbliss pointed out. you either are, or you aren't. you either eat animals or you don't. very simple. explanations to strange servers at restaurants not required.

cheers.

Amber1011
02-19-2009, 02:25 PM
I get annoyed to no end with the word "flexitarian"
GAH! Just say you're an omni!
I also have a problem with people who say they are vegetarian but eat fish.
I have had many a restaurant try to serve me fish.
At a certain restaurant I asked if a dish had any meat in it, and they said no...
it came out with crab on it!
*sigh* lol
/rant

mandalinn82
02-19-2009, 02:38 PM
I don't think "flexitarian" in any way infringes on vegetarians. It's a different word and implies a mindful attempt to include more vegetarian meals, even outside of a completely vegetarian diet. That's different than omnivore, which means you eat whatever. And just because two words share the same ending doesn't mean they're infringing on eachother.

It's like "locavore"...an emerging word to describe a fairly new philosophy toward eating.

kaplods
02-19-2009, 05:45 PM
In essence, I think that it's a wonderful thing that there are more words being coined, and used regarding eating habits. It really shows that people are caring about their food and where it comes from. I remember when it wasn't unusual to hear "vegetarians and normal people." And when "I'll eat anything," was a statement said with a certain amount of pride.


Perhaps, the more subgroups, the better. If we're going to be precise, then very few, if any humans can lay claim to the "carnivore" status, either in practice or theory. And while omnivore may (as a scientific classification) be accurate, an omnivore that makes conscious and specific choices may need a more precise definition, at least in some situations.

As more folks care about their food, whether all of us agree on whether the need exists, the more terms will be created to describe the concerns.

nelie
02-19-2009, 05:50 PM
I personally never liked labels myself. It took me about 6 months of eating no meat to say I was a vegetarian. Of course I can't keep track of labels but all I want is consistency. Including the fact that 'vegetarian' sections on the menu of a restaurant can include fish and you have to ask to make sure is a bit annoying to me. Although it'd be nice to go into a restaurant and have them know what the pre-existing labels mean. It'd be nice to ask for something 'vegan' and have them understand what that means. Instead of me going to Panera and having to emphasize "NO CHEESE" and even ask the sandwich makers not to put cheese on my sandwich.

lottie63
07-16-2009, 02:53 PM
this probably happens in other" communities" as well, I am not straight edge but have often heard "I'm straight edge, but I smoke when drink."

*confusion*

JulieJ08
07-16-2009, 03:36 PM
this probably happens in other" communities" as well, I am not straight edge but have often heard "I'm straight edge, but I smoke when drink."

*confusion*

Huh, I never heard of "straight edge" before, but google led me to wikipedia ... :)

sakurasky
07-17-2009, 03:09 AM
I understand why labels inevitably exist, but I don't understand why labels are that important to people. I think people incorrectly assume labels makes everything easier, but in reality, it just ends up confusing people. In general, labels are typically great things, until you apply them to people. I challenge someone to give me one human label that is never bent, one label that defines with absolution a persons preferences or beliefs or lifestyle. There are always and will always be exceptions to everything, because human variation is so unique and vast that generic labels are horribly inadequate tools. If you insist on using labels, you inevitably run the risk of people misunderstanding that label, no matter what. Language is never set in stone. It constantly evolves. Specifics and especially morals come and go with words. If the majority of "vegetarians" on earth decide they still like to each chicken, guess what, Webster changes the definition to include "except chicken". So if people really want to live their lives in a Webster-dogmatic fashion so as not to taint a word, be my guest. You're probably wasting your time, no matter how noble it is.

Think about it logically. If you've found in your experience that whatever label you are using tends to require additional explanation, did the label serve its purpose? Obviously not. So why not just skip the label. The point that they wouldn't be if all people used them correctly, is a moot point, because it doesn't happen. Sure, you can set a few people you meet straight, but does it really make life easier or better? It's like trying to shovel a sidewalk in a place where it eternally snows. Your job will most likely never be done.

I also disagree that the "more subgroups the better". After all, are we human beings or just a collection of badges? You have to draw the line somewhere, else we turn the world into an endless sea of eggshells to walk upon and risk offending someone every other minute of the day. I'm not fond of sheer ignorance, but I'm not a fan of linguistic fascism either.

I'll be the first to admit I do not know the ins and outs and labels of every sub-group or sub-culture out there, and it doesn't bother me. Frankly, I don't have that kind of time on my hands, and I assume most people don't either. If I say something that is inaccurate that really bother them, I expect the person to politely remove my ignorance in a simple non-pontificating fashion, and then move on. Conversely, if someone says something that's not entirely precise, yet I still understand what they mean, I don't see the point in being a snob and asserting my superior knowledge out of a perception that it somehow makes my life better, because it doesn't.

That being said, there's nothing wrong with venting. We tend to do that on the internet, and if people become more enlightened in the process, then it was a good discussion.

Jennifer 3FC
07-25-2009, 05:02 PM
I think a definition of something can be useful and a timesaver, as long as there are enough people that know what the word means. Saying one is pescatarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian only works if the other person knows what that means.

Kaplods - you bring up a good point of 'vegetarians versus normal'. :lol: In a lot of places I'm sure that idea still exists, but overall the numbers of vegetarians and eco-awareness of food choices are rising, and 'labels' or definitions are becoming handier. In my opinion. ;)

nelie
08-10-2009, 09:18 PM
My husband is reading a book called "Mad Cow" which is by a cattle rancher turned vegetarian (vegan? not sure).

He says to me the other day, "This book is funny, it calls vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy ovo-lacto". He had never heard the term ovo-lacto or ovo or lacto vegetarian before. Here is a guy who has been vegetarian for 2 years and is in his mid 30s :)

Arianwen
11-15-2009, 12:25 PM
I *hate* it when people think vegetarians eat fish. I've been a lacto-ovo 'tarian for 20 years and I can't count the number of times people ask me if I eat fish. FISH ARE ANIMALS. What are they, made of broccoli? *sigh*

JulieJ08
11-15-2009, 12:30 PM
I hate the fish thing too!

I'm just grinning because I saw this thread today, and realized I posted in it last year when I was just thinking about becoming vegetarian, and now I have been vegetarian for over a year :D

UrthWurm
11-15-2009, 01:05 PM
I normally just tell people that "I eat Salmon on occasion, but beyond that I don't eat any other kind of meat". At restaurants or with new acquaintances I normally keep it short and just say "I don't eat meat." So there's no confusion. I'm very picky about the Salmon I eat; organic wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Also I don't want to be eating it on a constant basis. It's a rare treat for me, and I fear people relying on it so they don't have to leave their "meat meals" comfort zone. :D

I've been "pescetarian" for just barely a year. It's been a new and exciting change, finding out how to cook healthy nutritious meals, discovering that I actually DON'T despise veggies/beans. I'm still working on letting go of the Salmon, but beyond that I'm happy with my diet. The only other non-Vegan food I eat is eggs (just recently started again) as it's a quick, filling source of protein in the mornings for a very very poor college student. :lol:

I understand the confusion on both sides of the fence when someone says "I'm Vegan, but.." You're contradicting your previous statement by clearly saying that you eat something outside of that doctrine. I think that ends up coming out of mouths more often than it should because A) people are misinformed or confused about the actual terms they're using, or B) when put on the spot it's the easiest, quickest way to describe their diet. Let's face it, we don't always say the most intelligent or correct things when someone is questioning us and our beliefs. ;)

EZMONEY
11-16-2009, 05:32 PM
I hate the fish thing too!

I'm just grinning because I saw this thread today, and realized I posted in it last year when I was just thinking about becoming vegetarian, and now I have been vegetarian for over a year :D

How time flies, do you still eat fish? ;)

JulieJ08
11-16-2009, 06:13 PM
How time flies, do you still eat fish? ;)

You better be careful, EZ. You keep hanging out in the veggie forum and you never know what might happen ...

EZMONEY
11-16-2009, 06:34 PM
True story....

tonight....I am making my first ever spaghetti squash!!

a casserole...already cut it in half....knew I wasn't supposed to use the seeds but I threw the slimy stuff out too...

gonna bake it for an hour then shred it and do the rest..

wish me luck!

JulieJ08
11-16-2009, 07:43 PM
Bake it good and long - it stays pretty crunchy for a long time. Or you might like it that way.

kelly315
11-16-2009, 07:50 PM
Some people use it as an excuse to politely not eat (often as part of an eating disorder).

Arianwen
11-20-2009, 03:09 PM
There have been times in my life where my dairy consumption was virtually nil, and for years I hated honey, however, I would never label myself a vegan. I was eating less dairy probably for financial reasons. I am one of those rare adults that is lactose tolerant, not intolerant, I believe for me personally, I am meant to consume dairy, my ancestors obviously adapted to consuming it as adults to get nutrition through long, dark winters in Europe.

I appear to suffer no ill effects from not consuming meat, though.