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Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mouth?

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:57 am
by Dillcue
Would it make more sense to define veganhood based on knowing the ethical principles that your veganism rests on? It's almost academic time, which brings back memories of co-ops hosting vegan cooking seminars and vegan student groups. What was obvious in all of them was that people went to these simply because of nothing else to do. No ethical debates or something fucking interesting. Not saying that there is anything wrong with attending vegan meet ups to amuse oneself, but I can't help being an amateur cultural critic, and so my current understanding of these meet ups is that they are on the same level as going to a Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight showing to amuse oneself with all of the colorful an cheerful social deviants.

I happen to be non-vegan in the strict dietary sense. That is, I consume small quantities of ghee/butter and various types of seafood. Not even a vegetarian!

Am I even wrong? Need to know.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:26 pm
by Kon
It is what it is.
Everyone likes to define things, but it doesn't always mean what you define is how everyone will see it. Isn't that enough?
Sometimes the less defined things are, the more welcoming it appears to others. I would think that would be a good thing.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:37 pm
by Fallen_Horse
Well the technical definition is simply someone who abstains from all animal foods and products, as well as insect products. So if you *consciously* consume or use any of those things in any form, then technically you are not a vegan. But I think there are many 'vegans' who use beeswax or lanolin or or or, etc. So they would be like 99% vegans, but many people think that's 'good enough' to count. Personally I think it's fine to put a number on it, but other people don't. So I suppose I don't have an actual answer for you, except maybe, "does it really matter?"

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:40 pm
by knomad56
I think it is to be said that the hard-core ethical vegans (meaning not for nutritional/health realted reasons) also abstain from leather products, as well as ANY product that comes from an animal.

This I find myself at odds with because guess what... a cow is going to die at some point. why not use every bit of the animal for other purposes? I understand that's not the scenario in mass-marketed consumer goods but... I'm vegan for nutritional reasons, not ethical ones....this particularly applies to me since I'm in the military and REQUIRED to wear leather safety boots as a part of my uniform.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:44 pm
by muchidna
personally, i hate identifying myself as a vegan, it has a little bit of a stigma, alot of people i know, don't know about my diet, i usually say something like i don't eat meat, or i don't eat animal products, i'm not ashamed of it, i just don't like to start moral debates as i usually have a smug attitude about it, and it doesn't end well

anyway, should vegan mean more than just diet?
well, i don't think so, i think if you don't eat animal products, you're a vegan, as far as leather, honey and stuff, well i'm sure alot of people are on a vegan diet for their health, i wouldn't stop them from calling themselves vegans because they wear shoes.

also @ knomad56, that's kinda circular logic, a cow will die at some point so why not use them?
they are bred to die, bred to use the whole thing, so more are killed...

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:37 pm
by Think_machine
Funny thing is my workout buddy taught me what veganism is, and he was only doing it for health benefits. Ironically, he showed me a video that made me go vegan for ETHICAL reasons. Lol

You have three types of vegans.
Ethical vegans are doing it because it is wrong to harm animals.
Dietary vegans are doing it because it is healthy for you.
Sustainable vegans are doing it because with the population crisis, the only sustainable diet to feed everyone will eventually be a plant based diet. All the time and land used for feed could be used directly to grow crops for human consumption.

I think all three are great reasons to be vegan. However, we can clearly see how dietary and sustainable vegans may argue that they can "cheat" every once in a while. But i fail to see how an ethical vegan could cheat on their morals, other than hypocracy. So if you are ethical, you SHOULD be 100% vegan as much as possible, looking up info before consuming anything. If you are dietary or sustainable, you could cheat because it is more of a philosophy than a religion.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:32 pm
by Dillcue
The dietary and environmental reasons might give impetus for considering limiting animal consumption, but can do little for holding an ethical position, especially when sustainable CSAs and happy 90 year old healthy dairy farmers are introduced.

So that leaves the ethical position, and if one uses Singer's argument, then it is entirely possible to consume dairy or non sentient seafood. This in turn doesn't make one vegan, but when discussing seriously the topic of animals and ethics, which person is more existentially authentic?

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:13 pm
by timetide
For me, veganism has come to mean more than what I put in my mouth. Now I consciously abstain from all animal products (though I do have some leftover wool & leather from my pre-vegan days), though in certain very limited circumstances I sometimes don't investigate every aspect of the food I eat. (For example, I know that the bread and pasta I eat are vegan, but if someone makes an effort to prepare a vegan meal for me, I won't usually "grill" them about whether they checked to make sure the bread or pasta is vegan . . .)

I have a friend who saw a film (can't remember which one) and became vegan the next day. He is now a very active animal rights activist. My switch to veganism was different. I gave it a try after being vegetarian for close to 20 years and then figuring out that dairy was causing some health issues for me. I've been vegan for over four years now. In the first year it was primarily for health reasons but over time it has become more an environmental and animal rights issues for me. I recognize that my own transition to veganism happened over time at my own pace. While I truly appreciate militant animal rights activism (because I think it voices an important argument that needs to be heard), it is not my nature, particularly at a personal level, to be confrontation with others about my choices. My friends and family all know I'm vegan and are very accommodating, but usually in public situations I will normally just say "No thank you" (without explanation) instead of "No thank you. I'm vegan."

My bottom line is that every and any choice that reduces animal suffering is a good choice and a step in the right direction. Even in the brief time I've been vegan, I've seen a shift in public dialogue about veganism (though it does seem to be predominantly health-related). On days when I'm more pessimistic the pace of change seems glacial . . .

I know this has been a bit of a ramble, but just felt like commenting.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:19 am
by muchidna
shouldnt matter the reasons, if they say they are on a vegan diet, that's good enough for me

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:43 am
by MartinVegartin
I think only people who are vegan for ethical reasons are vegans. The others are just following a diet they believe is better for their health or for the environment. They are the ones most likely to give up when they face difficulties because they have little commitment to veganism.

I could use the example of a religion. Let's use Christianity as it is the one I am most familiar with, having once been one of sorts.

Someone who goes to church on Sundays and has their children baptised could be likened to a dietary vegan. But only someone who truly believes in the teachings of Christianity (which will depend on the particular flavour they follow) is a Christian. That would be someone who doesn't lie or cheat or steal. Someone who tries to love their neighbour. Someone who believes Jesus is their saviour.

Veganism is about trying to do no harm to any animal life.

But I welcome any type of vegan because the more of us there are, the more chance there is that fewer victims will be abused, tortured and slaughtered.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:43 am
by VeggieWarrior13
I had a very similar conversation with a friend. The conclusion that we came to is that a vegan a person who refrains from using any animal product whatever for food, clothing, or any other purpose (World English definition). So, my friend that eats like a vegan but wears leather now says that she "follows a vegan diet".

I think that it means different things to different people, but I am a vegan...not just following a diet...now. Initially, I just changed my diet to lose weight but feelings of compassion and wanting to eliminate animal products outside of my diet came later. By educating myslef I learned that I didn't want anything to do with animal products.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:29 am
by KingClumsy
I'm a bit of an economics nerd and one of the reasons I started eating vegan was that it used less resources, polluted less and damaged the environment less than a meat diet. This was parallel to/possibly ahead ofthe impact directly on the animals involved (I researched into comparing a supermarket sourced vegan diet against a locally sourced meat or vegetaran diet)

For me, its expanded from a vegan diet to slowly (through wear and tear) replacing all animal products i use in general (My work shoes are still wearable and I wont replace them until they fall apart) because it seems a bit hipocritical (spelling?) to give up animal products then wear or use them in other ways.

A third part of this is my lifestyle changing to be more enviornmentally friendly becauseevena s vegans our actions can, in the long term, harm enviornments and the animals within them. For me this involves cutting my carbon footprint and food miles and eating less refined foods, the last of which has dietary benefits anyway.

Re: Should veganism mean more than what you put in your mout

Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:56 pm
by Cellar Yeti
With my current health issues I have gone back to being a super strict Vegan for spiritual reasons; where as before when i was caught up in my own shit I would cheat occasionally because Meh, fuck it. It has really ground me for good. My soul feels alive again. So I guess in shot. Absolutely.