Veganism

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Re:

RedheadDane said:
What exactly is the definition of a 'Flexitarian'? Is it just someone who sometimes doesn't eat meat - and other animal-based products?
I don't think there is a hard definition, but I think it's generally accepted to be someone who eats a largely plant-based diet with small amounts of animal products (dairy, meat, eggs etc.). This is how I generally eat, although I wouldn't refer to myself as a flexitarian.
 
Re: Re:

red_flanders said:
King Boonen said:
I will involve myself more when I get chance. The main reason I asked is because eating a plant-based diet and Veganism are two very different things. Similarly, if I decide to keep Kosher or Halal, that wouldn't make me Jewish or Muslim. Being vegan requires you to make every effort to do the least harm you can, across your whole life. What interests me in that regard is where people draw the line, how they determine what is least harm and so on.

I've previously posted in this thread about the mouse plague carried out in Australia (I think). This is done to preserve crops for people and, depending on your opinion and how you calculate things, can result in a vegan meal being more cruel than an omnivorous meal. Farming animals on only pasture is another interesting question. Does the husbandry and slaughter outweigh the ecological system this farming supports, effectively providing for many other animals, insects and so on? Do people value the life of an insect to the same level they value that of a cow? Surely a vegan must, otherwise they are doing the same thing they accuse omnivores of doing, determining which life is more important. (Lets not even get into the ridiculous discussion around plants being alive and so on, it's not even worth wasting time on).

This isn't about sitting in judgement and attempting to trip people up by the way. I'm well aware that anyone making a conscious effort to move towards eating less meat is almost certain to do less harm than someone who doesn't. Even those who research everything about an omnivorous diet, buy crops that are not treated to remove insects etc., only buy meat from farms raising animals on pasture and only locally to cut down on their carbon footprint and the damage to animals in this sense are still likely to do more harm than someone eating a plant based diet and doing something to remove animal products from other aspects of their lives.

As this is a cycling internet forum I'll point out 2 interesting areas where Veganism is relevant. Certain tyre manufacturers use animal products in their rubber (I think continental do). How many vegan cyclists would think to look this up and stop using these brands? What about computers/phones etc? Getting the raw materials to produce these things is incredibly destructive and kills countless animals. How many vegans only buy these items second hand and avoid purchasing anything unless they absolutely need it? I haven't contributed to this industry for about 5+ years I think (I've had a Kindle bought for me but all my other electronics are second-hand/provided by work as a requirement of my job). Does this make me more vegan than the person who eats a vegan diet but buys every console and game they can get their hands on, updates their phone every 6 months and is constantly replacing parts in their PC to improve its performance? Can they justify it by saying these things are necessary? I can see good arguments for and against this, after all science is the thing that keeps us alive, art is the things that makes us want to live.

I think the fundamental issue most people have with Veganism, at least the issue I see most in discussions, is that it's presented as an absolutism when simply explained/advertised, and this simply isn't the case.
Good post, thanks, and the "less harm" is what I think most thoughtful people are going for. You can't stop the harming of some number of animals in the harvesting of plants, but certainly the amount of damage being done is exponentially smaller if you eat plant-based. So that's well worth doing, obviously.

I have a slightly different take on the concept of absolutism. I think you're right to point it out as part of the reaction, but I would argue it's not the fundamental issue people have with veganism. I think the fundamental reaction is that veganism is felt as an ethical criticism of society's (and individuals') behavior, and people take umbrage with that implied ethical critique. It attacks one of the core behaviors of western society, it infringes on deeply held traditions, and most of all, it's different. Especially in America, people seem to fancy themselves as rugged individualists, who are self sufficient and who at least love the idea of killing their own game for food if they don't actually do it themselves. It's tied into the cultural ethos and ideas of manhood.

That it appears to be absolutist, is an angle people who are already offended use to argue against it. But arguing that because a way of life isn't perfect means it's not worth doing is pretty silly on its face, and no vegan I've ever spoken with fails to recognize that it's not perfect. Absolutism is a straw man the offended use to attack a lifestyle they are offended by.

After that we get into "how do you get your protein" (easily, how do you get your fiber?) and other uniformed arguments about the diet. And in America we get to hear how God gave us dominion over the animals so we should be eating them. And other such nonsense.
I think we're generally saying the same thing here. It's the perceived absolutism that people see as an attack on their morals and ethics, but the fact that it isn't an absolutism is ignored/not understood by most. I also agree that's it's the thing most will us to try and pick apart someone's veganism by begging the question "What about this?", "Have you considered this?", "Aren't plants alive too?" and other nonsense.

If they were truly interested they would be asking how you ensure you get enough lysine and threonine to try it themselves. But most of them don't actually understand what protein is.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I did the strict vegan thing for a while and found it extremely draining. Diet side of if it easy, but it's the other stuff that just wears you out. It just takes too much effort, time and money for something that yields no personal gain and living in a place where meat consumption is on the rise it really makes you feel like you're wasting your time. Also, though I've never been vocal about being vegan, it seemed to matter a whole lot to my friends/family. They would wait for a moment to say "THAT'S NOT VEGAN YOU CAN'T DO THAT" and social gatherings became a source of stress.

It really pisses you off when you're riding your bike in -25C through 5 inches of snow and then you get critiqued for eating candy that has some insect ingredients in it all the while they're chugging down ounces of meat. Being vegan is like bailing water out of a boat while everybody else is pissing on it.

Nowadays I'm in the plant-based diet camp and feel much better. I stopped fretting about the small stuff and not trying to fit under a label like when I was vegan has eased the pressure.
 
Re: Re:

King Boonen said:
red_flanders said:
King Boonen said:
I will involve myself more when I get chance. The main reason I asked is because eating a plant-based diet and Veganism are two very different things. Similarly, if I decide to keep Kosher or Halal, that wouldn't make me Jewish or Muslim. Being vegan requires you to make every effort to do the least harm you can, across your whole life. What interests me in that regard is where people draw the line, how they determine what is least harm and so on.

I've previously posted in this thread about the mouse plague carried out in Australia (I think). This is done to preserve crops for people and, depending on your opinion and how you calculate things, can result in a vegan meal being more cruel than an omnivorous meal. Farming animals on only pasture is another interesting question. Does the husbandry and slaughter outweigh the ecological system this farming supports, effectively providing for many other animals, insects and so on? Do people value the life of an insect to the same level they value that of a cow? Surely a vegan must, otherwise they are doing the same thing they accuse omnivores of doing, determining which life is more important. (Lets not even get into the ridiculous discussion around plants being alive and so on, it's not even worth wasting time on).

This isn't about sitting in judgement and attempting to trip people up by the way. I'm well aware that anyone making a conscious effort to move towards eating less meat is almost certain to do less harm than someone who doesn't. Even those who research everything about an omnivorous diet, buy crops that are not treated to remove insects etc., only buy meat from farms raising animals on pasture and only locally to cut down on their carbon footprint and the damage to animals in this sense are still likely to do more harm than someone eating a plant based diet and doing something to remove animal products from other aspects of their lives.

As this is a cycling internet forum I'll point out 2 interesting areas where Veganism is relevant. Certain tyre manufacturers use animal products in their rubber (I think continental do). How many vegan cyclists would think to look this up and stop using these brands? What about computers/phones etc? Getting the raw materials to produce these things is incredibly destructive and kills countless animals. How many vegans only buy these items second hand and avoid purchasing anything unless they absolutely need it? I haven't contributed to this industry for about 5+ years I think (I've had a Kindle bought for me but all my other electronics are second-hand/provided by work as a requirement of my job). Does this make me more vegan than the person who eats a vegan diet but buys every console and game they can get their hands on, updates their phone every 6 months and is constantly replacing parts in their PC to improve its performance? Can they justify it by saying these things are necessary? I can see good arguments for and against this, after all science is the thing that keeps us alive, art is the things that makes us want to live.

I think the fundamental issue most people have with Veganism, at least the issue I see most in discussions, is that it's presented as an absolutism when simply explained/advertised, and this simply isn't the case.
Good post, thanks, and the "less harm" is what I think most thoughtful people are going for. You can't stop the harming of some number of animals in the harvesting of plants, but certainly the amount of damage being done is exponentially smaller if you eat plant-based. So that's well worth doing, obviously.

I have a slightly different take on the concept of absolutism. I think you're right to point it out as part of the reaction, but I would argue it's not the fundamental issue people have with veganism. I think the fundamental reaction is that veganism is felt as an ethical criticism of society's (and individuals') behavior, and people take umbrage with that implied ethical critique. It attacks one of the core behaviors of western society, it infringes on deeply held traditions, and most of all, it's different. Especially in America, people seem to fancy themselves as rugged individualists, who are self sufficient and who at least love the idea of killing their own game for food if they don't actually do it themselves. It's tied into the cultural ethos and ideas of manhood.

That it appears to be absolutist, is an angle people who are already offended use to argue against it. But arguing that because a way of life isn't perfect means it's not worth doing is pretty silly on its face, and no vegan I've ever spoken with fails to recognize that it's not perfect. Absolutism is a straw man the offended use to attack a lifestyle they are offended by.

After that we get into "how do you get your protein" (easily, how do you get your fiber?) and other uniformed arguments about the diet. And in America we get to hear how God gave us dominion over the animals so we should be eating them. And other such nonsense.
I think we're generally saying the same thing here. It's the perceived absolutism that people see as an attack on their morals and ethics, but the fact that it isn't an absolutism is ignored/not understood by most. I also agree that's it's the thing most will us to try and pick apart someone's veganism by begging the question "What about this?", "Have you considered this?", "Aren't plants alive too?" and other nonsense.

If they were truly interested they would be asking how you ensure you get enough lysine and threonine to try it themselves. But most of them don't actually understand what protein is.
As has been mentioned, the importance of labelling - either by the individual or by others - is rather rife in human society. And to simplify the groups as much as possible. Hence, meat eater - vegetarian - vegan, is the natural stepping stone that society sort of insists upon. I like the explanation of "plant based diet" (though could I change the words around so that I could simplify it to PDB? :D ) and feel that I will try to use this term more for myself, though I am not the type who wants to talk about it all that much to most people. Overseas at the moment, I am telling people that I am vegetarian, and even that is only when I have to (I am in Norway and have been asked if I would like some fish, which is apparently very delicious, and fishing is obviously a deeply held tradition here). I feel that even saying that comes with a hint of, "Why do you eat meat?", at least from their listening perspective.

The electronics point is a good one. I have had only a couple of phones in the last eight years or so, though I have also gone through quite a number of cheap laptops :(
 
Re:

Nastyy said:
I did the strict vegan thing for a while and found it extremely draining. Diet side of if it easy, but it's the other stuff that just wears you out. It just takes too much effort, time and money for something that yields no personal gain and living in a place where meat consumption is on the rise it really makes you feel like you're wasting your time. Also, though I've never been vocal about being vegan, it seemed to matter a whole lot to my friends/family. They would wait for a moment to say "THAT'S NOT VEGAN YOU CAN'T DO THAT" and social gatherings became a source of stress.

It really pisses you off when you're riding your bike in -25C through 5 inches of snow and then you get critiqued for eating candy that has some insect ingredients in it all the while they're chugging down ounces of meat. Being vegan is like bailing water out of a boat while everybody else is pissing on it.

Nowadays I'm in the plant-based diet camp and feel much better. I stopped fretting about the small stuff and not trying to fit under a label like when I was vegan has eased the pressure.
Great post. I particularly like what I bolded!
 
Aug 2, 2012
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RedheadDane said:
What exactly is the definition of a 'Flexitarian'? Is it just someone who sometimes doesn't eat meat - and other animal-based products?
i think it's someone whom lacks commitment but still has need of appearing superior to others...........
 
Re:

ebandit said:
RedheadDane said:
What exactly is the definition of a 'Flexitarian'? Is it just someone who sometimes doesn't eat meat - and other animal-based products?
i think it's someone whom lacks commitment but still has need of appearing superior to others...........
Consider asking why people actually become vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, etc. If you honestly think the answer is "to feel superior", I'd suggest the problem lies...

...not with the people eating differently.
 
Re: Re:

red_flanders said:
ebandit said:
RedheadDane said:
What exactly is the definition of a 'Flexitarian'? Is it just someone who sometimes doesn't eat meat - and other animal-based products?
i think it's someone whom lacks commitment but still has need of appearing superior to others...........
Consider asking why people actually become vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, etc. If you honestly think the answer is "to feel superior", I'd suggest the problem lies...

...not with the people eating differently.
Yep.
 
As a young bike racer O discovered a vegetarian diet completely by accident. Many Hare Krishna followers would walk up to you at the San Diego airport or at area beaches and hand you an invitation to eat a free meal at the temple in Pacific Beach. I was completely dismissive and another guy who had previously attended told me his experience and opinion. He explained that I would need to listen to a @5 minute presentation and then be able to eat an all you can eat vegetarian buffet w food that would blow my mind. He was right in every way!!
There were recipes for enchiladas,lasagna and salads that were nothing short of fantastic. I explored the use of millet and other grains and vegetables and spices that I still partially use.
Not sure if the cookbook is still available in the form of .mine.

 

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