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Why do you think people say they are veg*n when they aren't?

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Old 07-30-2008, 03:32 PM   #151
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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.
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:21 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
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 Iím 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?
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:19 PM   #153
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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!"
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:23 PM   #154
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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.
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:52 PM   #155
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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.

I was just explaining some of the difficulties I have in restaurants in general and ways to deal with them.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:55 PM   #156
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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.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:59 PM   #157
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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.
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:22 PM   #158
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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.
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:25 PM   #159
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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
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:38 PM   #160
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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.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:45 PM   #161
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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.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:50 PM   #162
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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.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:53 PM   #163
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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*
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:36 PM   #164
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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 ...
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:09 AM   #165
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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.
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