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

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Old 07-09-2008, 04:58 PM   #61
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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?


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Originally Posted by chickybird View Post
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.
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:09 PM   #62
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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.
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:27 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by KLK View Post
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 Well, honestly, I'd probably just want to tell her that
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:59 PM   #64
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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.

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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.
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Old 07-09-2008, 07:47 PM   #65
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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.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:10 PM   #66
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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"!
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:43 PM   #67
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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. ;-)
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:58 AM   #68
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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.
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:33 PM   #69
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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.
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:36 PM   #70
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I do wonder - is there a term for someone who will only eat free-range, organic, cruelty-free animal products?

Happy Meaters ;-)
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:38 PM   #71
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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!
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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).
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:45 PM   #72
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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!
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:48 PM   #73
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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.
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:59 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by walking2lose View Post
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. NASTY!!!

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."
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Old 07-13-2008, 03:00 PM   #75
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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.

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