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Sarabi
Nov 23rd, 2008, 03:17 AM
Ooookay. Tonight I went to a dinner with a new group on campus called Unconventional Eaters so I could meet them and talk about my vegan campaign and what not. Our cook/treasurer was a meat-eater. There was a guy (vice president?) who told me he "used to be vegetarian." Then the founder / president told me she "used to be vegan." So three meat-eaters, and two "disillusioned" vegetarians.

While they offered to help me with my campaign, which is exciting, it was kind of a mind-drain for me talking to them because they know a lot about health and animal cruelty, and yet I disagree with them. The former vegan told me she found it pointless to restrain herself so much after a time and said her time of being vegan was a "long year and a half." The former vegetarian told me he couldn't get enough protein, and the cook told me she lost 15 pounds just coming to college as a meat-eater because the food quality was so poor.

What the hell?:confused: I'm like, you guys shop at Wholefoods and farmers' markets.... how can you not afford to have a healthy vegan or even vegetarian diet? And if you care so much about "ethical food" as you say, why do you feel restrained? I know I've only been vegan for five weeks, but it's like the shortest five weeks of my life... I want a year to pass just so I can say I've been vegan and healthy for a year and know what I'm doing.

I can't actually say these things to these people.... but how it made me feel just makes me realize how important culture is here. If they're surrounded by people who whine and say, "This food sucks... blablabla," how will they feel? And how will they feel if they lack conviction? That's culture. And eating meat and dairy and eggs... that's culture. It makes things seem difficult when I could surround myself by other people and am sure things would seem easier as they have.

I feel I have to make veganism seem easier. It's not just about bloody cages! They kept talking about how badly animals are treated, and I was like... you think your life is hard?

I dunno... I find the vegan diet to be pretty easy to manage, and I don't think that much about what I eat. I just make sure I get some veggies, tofu, peanut butter, and I'm good to go. How is that so difficult? Just because it goes against the dominant culture? It amazes me how much they seem to care about animals and still continue eating them just because of a little culture shock, just because it takes a bit more effort. These are well-educated, active people. I don't blame them, but I have to figure out what's going on here...

If you look at the vegan food pyramid, proteins are in the same place beside dairy as well as the bottom with veggies. I'd rather eat a bit too much fat through peanut butter or whatever than eat a slaughtered chicken, and I just don't get it... What can I say to them? On the one hand, I'm like a novice compared to them, just five weeks in..... but then they seem to know all this stuff I don't. I wouldn't want them to put a damper on my campaign by telling people stories of their own malnutrition.

I did ask them about vegans in the group, though, and they said they'd ask if there were any so I could find someone to work with.

I'm calling upon senior vegans here! What would you do?

Mahk
Nov 23rd, 2008, 03:38 AM
I'm calling upon senior vegans here! What would you do?

Leave the group and find a vegan one instead.

Korn
Nov 23rd, 2008, 04:34 AM
The former vegan told me she found it pointless to restrain herself so much after a time and said her time of being vegan was a "long year and a half."

She probably hasn't tried out all the brilliant gourmet meals that vegans are making all over the world every day. If she thinks this is about 'restraining herself', she simply may not be good at preparing delicious vegan food...




The former vegetarian told me he couldn't get enough protein
Some people assumes they can't. Of course they can, but they can't just remove the meat and fish from their old recipes and assume that they are now eating a balanced, healthy vegan diet.


she lost 15 pounds just coming to college as a meat-eater because the food quality was so poor.
She was probably right about eating poor food. Some people do that - vegan or not...


I'm like, you guys shop at Wholefoods and farmers' markets.... how can you not afford to have a healthy vegan or even vegetarian diet?
Sure... vegan food isn't more expensive than non-vegan food.



I just make sure I get some veggies, tofu, peanut butter, and I'm good to go. How is that so difficult?
Hmmm.... That could potentially be 'difficult', just like eating a non-varied standard diet could be difficult in the long run. We need more than veggies, tofu and peanut butter (we actually don't need tofu and peanut butter at all! :)).

It seems that non-vegans miss out on a higher number of nutrients than vegans, but just like them, vegans can of course also become deficient - sometimes in the same nutrients they often are deficient in, sometimes in other nutrients. I agree that it's easy to be a vegan once you have changed your habits, but like non-vegans, we need some basic knowledge about which nutrients we may need to supplement with, and what kind of food that are our best sources for these nutrients. My experience is that vegans normally eat more varied, balanced and healthy food than non-vegans.

Being vegan is 'easy', but it's also easy to leave a diet if you aren't satisfied with it for more than some months or a few years. Protein is a non-issue (we still need to eat protein (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/tags.php?tag=protein)), but we need to make sure we eg. get enough B12. (If you or your friends are interested in reading about what nutrients meat eaters normally miss out on, check this thread (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24)...)



They seem to know all this stuff I don't
Great! If they do, why not learn something from them! :)


I'm calling upon senior vegans here! What would you do?
Communicate with them, unless you feel like not doing it. Spend a couple of hours reading about vegan nutrition, and use internet or other sources if they ask you questions you can't answer.

If all they have managed to come up with as vegans/vegetarians is a 'poor' diet, they should have done something different. Maybe they actually would enjoy finding out what those satisfied people who have been vegans for several decades (or their whole life) know about cooking etc. that they don't? ;)

I'd say that unless your food is more varied, more nutritious and more tasty than the food you ate before you became a vegan, you are probably doing something 'wrong', and remember that people like those you mention often have answered their own questions (re. why they gave up being vegans): they were eating poor food. The solution is... not to eat poor food.

Ruby Rose
Nov 23rd, 2008, 04:48 PM
How about challenging them to a 30-day Vegan food challenge where you will provide recipes, food ideas and suggestions for menus for them (don't reinvent the wheel, there's hundred on the net) that are delicious, cheap and nutritionally balanced. Blast the "poor / boring / expensive diet" myth out of the water... then say to them "The cows, pigs and chickens want to know what other excuses you've got now for keeping them in concentration camp conditions and then killing them?"

whalespace
Nov 23rd, 2008, 06:37 PM
Culture certainly does seem to apply considerable background pressure ... or maybe shows relief that it needs to 'do nothing' when you acquiesce.
I hope you find some other vegans [as well as us].
Tautological I know but foods new to us will be different. Different is stimulating, not unnerving.
Don't ignore opportunities to be healthy... considering the alternative, the choice should be straightforward, but humans are complex creatures... I am impressed by your willingness to use the oblique [by joining the non conventional eaters group] . The facts are embedded somewhere in all of that despair and opinion.

BJJNick
Nov 25th, 2008, 04:58 PM
Anyone who was a vegan and then went back to eating meat is a lost cause imo.

Quantum Mechanic
Nov 25th, 2008, 10:53 PM
Anyone who was a vegan and then went back to eating meat is a lost cause imo.

I would try to be a bit more optimistic than that - perhaps they were scared about their health as they were ignorant at the time about good vegan food. I mean, the vast majority of us are raised, told that "you get your protein from meat and calcium from milk" and stuff like that, and many people, even those who ought to know better, don't know where to go from there.

Granted with the Internet it's a bit easier, but I would say to go on a case-by-case basis. Anyway, I like to look at such times as opportunities to educate people that it really is quite possible to be healthy, happy, and vegan, rather than to just write them off as a "lost cause". Even if that may well be the case.

treaclemine
Nov 26th, 2008, 02:13 PM
Do you think this might help?

http://www.vegansociety.com/people/lifestyle/pledge/

Maybe commiting to this and then having a helpful, non-judging vegan mentor would make the difference?

BJJNick
Nov 26th, 2008, 05:27 PM
I would try to be a bit more optimistic than that - perhaps they were scared about their health as they were ignorant at the time about good vegan food. I mean, the vast majority of us are raised, told that "you get your protein from meat and calcium from milk" and stuff like that, and many people, even those who ought to know better, don't know where to go from there.

Granted with the Internet it's a bit easier, but I would say to go on a case-by-case basis. Anyway, I like to look at such times as opportunities to educate people that it really is quite possible to be healthy, happy, and vegan, rather than to just write them off as a "lost cause". Even if that may well be the case.

I try to convince myself to be more optimistic. I made that post when I was in a bad mood. Lol.

Sarabi
Nov 27th, 2008, 07:43 PM
Do you think this might help?

http://www.vegansociety.com/people/lifestyle/pledge/

Maybe commiting to this and then having a helpful, non-judging vegan mentor would make the difference?
I have actually seen that page before and am planning to do that next semester, but I don't think ex-vegans and ex-vegetarians count. Why would they pledge for a week if they've already tried it for longer than that?

I think you're right, Quantum Mechanic. I'm going to place a lot of emphasis on health when I talk to people from now own because I feel that is a major reason that veganism hasn't caught on. Health issues seem to be a bigger deal than I initially thought, and even if they're not huge, they obviously seem that way to the individuals who gave up because of that. Every time I talk about veganism lately, it seems like I hear some story of former vegans or former vegetarians who gave up for health reasons.

I'm going to have that pledge competition, and I'm going to give out prizes.... I have these ideas so far: free meal at vegetarian café down the street, vegan cookbook, bottle of vitamin B12 supplement, bottle of multivitamin supplement.

Korn, I think you're right that the solution is to eat nutritious food, but sometimes it's not so easy, especially in a non-vegan world eating a vegan diet. So maybe emphasizing also the possibility of supplements will be helpful.

Thanks for the replies, everyone! It's so nice to be able to communicate with vegans who are happy with their lifestyle.... I feel so much more at peace then.

Quantum Mechanic
Nov 28th, 2008, 06:08 AM
Every time I talk about veganism lately, it seems like I hear some story of former vegans or former vegetarians who gave up for health reasons.


And then you have my dad, who's trying to switch to a vegan diet for primarily health reasons (though he's not really comfortable eating animals either and avoids killing insects).

Korn
Nov 28th, 2008, 11:43 PM
Korn, I think you're right that the solution is to eat nutritious food, but sometimes it's not so easy, especially in a non-vegan world eating a vegan diet.

The problem is that relying on supplements can never substitute real food. This fact, combined with the fact that non-vegans usually are deficient in a number of nutrients are two main reasons I disagree with emphasizing supplements. We don't need more supplements that non-vegans.



Promoting a vegan diet combined with emphasizing supplements may work for a small group of people, but I'm afraid that for the vast majority, it will only be seen as some sort of confirmation of the myth some people believe in: that vegan food as such is so incomplete, nutrient-wise, that vegans need supplements to remain healthy (and that non-vegans get everything they need from food).

Quantum Mechanic
Nov 29th, 2008, 01:29 AM
Yeah, at age 8 I took a multivitamin with at least a dozen vitamins - now at age 18 I only supplement with one.

Sarabi
Dec 1st, 2008, 03:50 AM
The problem is that relying on supplements can never substitute real food. This fact, combined with the fact that non-vegans usually are deficient in a number of nutrients are two main reasons I disagree with emphasizing supplements. We don't need more supplements that non-vegans.

Promoting a vegan diet combined with emphasizing supplements may work for a small group of people, but I'm afraid that for the vast majority, it will only be seen as some sort of confirmation of the myth some people believe in: that vegan food as such is so incomplete, nutrient-wise, that vegans need supplements to remain healthy (and that non-vegans get everything they need from food).
That's a nice argument, but I'm sorry, vegans DO have health issues that need to be addressed. Why is B12 the number one tag word on this board? People don't always know which foods are B12 fortified, and the only such foods I know of in my university dining hall are soy and rice milk and cereal. And if people don't like drinking milk or eating cereal? Then they need to take supplements.

I haven't seen any evidence measuring B12 risks between vegans and non-vegans, but I have seen a lot of evidence suggesting that it is not uncommon for vegans to develop anemia shortly after going vegan. That's enough for me. I'm not a nutritionist, and I'm not going to take the risk just because I think it might scare someone away. It would scare more people away if I help them become anemic.

Besides, my nutritionist, who is anemic, suggested I take B12 supplements just because I'm female... my mom always told to do that, and I just ignored her... but it's probably a good idea if the nutritionist told me so.

On second thought, you do have a point... I should emphasize the need to improve food options with B12 supplements. This is a long-term solution, however, and not a short-term one. As I eat in the dining hall myself, I am not going to ask anyone else to go find a different source of food until things change. If everyone leaves, nothing will change.

Quantum Mechanic
Dec 1st, 2008, 08:57 AM
Besides, my nutritionist, who is anemic, suggested I take B12 supplements just because I'm female... my mom always told to do that, and I just ignored her... but it's probably a good idea if the nutritionist told me so.


Really? I had only heard about iron with regards to females. Did she explain why?

Gorilla
Dec 1st, 2008, 02:14 PM
B12 is needed to make red blood cells so without it you can become anaemic.

Sarabi
Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:21 AM
Yeah... I guess women produce a lot of red blood cells during menstruation.

whalespace
Dec 3rd, 2008, 11:24 AM
I supplement my diet with vitamin and mineral preparations. I figure that I would eat a few of nuts or a couple of berries if they contained what I needed... or even crush stones and mix them with hot teas... possibly even improve the absorbabilty of my calcium carbonate toothpowder while neutralising the phosphoric acid in a nasty cola; pleasing calcium phosphate...shame about the sugar. Vitsan'mins tablets are just someone else's cooking.

My worries regarding supplement tablets are:

1;The amounts of certain of the ingredients is very critical... microgramme to milligramme seems a tiny bit of stirring, and toxicity might become an issue.
2;A tub of tablets directed at vegans is a simple way of targeting vegans.
3;In a refugee camp, tablets are medicine, magic, and currency... better to mix it evenly in the food.
4;There is more to the human body [and mind] than the bunch of vitsan'mins which the labsters have so far identified.
5;I prefer environments in which my food will grow healthily in the garden, and where essential nutrients are not controlled by......where we do not put our eggs in one basket.

Something for the thread starter [if you are in a hurry or are not able to browse on raw veg for sixteen hours daily]:
Zinc: Dill. I still haven't found a lab report on the amount of zinc in this cheap dry herb...I'll try that now since I've ticked off my necessaries:). Gosh, I do not know whom to believe.
Iron , calcium, iodine, magnesium : Molasses or black treacle...read the lable and dont worry about the sugar, don't eat it all at once, do some sums, and cut out some nutritionally redundant sugars or starches [or x or y or excess calcium or gonad busting selenium].

As for B12 ...I believe there are tomes of discussion on that in other threads, and plenty of tasty sauces to infer.

puffin
Dec 3rd, 2008, 11:31 AM
I try to convince myself to be more optimistic. I made that post when I was in a bad mood. Lol.

:D Made me smile. I have known people who have turned back to the dark side and i find it hard to understand when one minute they were moaning about the treatment of animals and the next stuffing one in there mouth. :rolleyes:

philfox
Dec 4th, 2008, 09:30 AM
Anyone who was a vegan and then went back to eating meat is a lost cause imo.

Not always! I know you wrote it in a bad mood, but just to let you know I went from being vegetarian for about 18 years, to being vegan for 1 1/2 years to meat eater to veggie and now vegan for nearly 3 years. I feel guilty for 'lapsing' but how I feel now for knowing and finding out I wasn't 'missing out' on anything and my health wasn't suffering. It didn't improve my social situations ie eating out as you can't just plead ignorance.

I have a strong resolve now to do the best I can and to be the best vegan that I can be. I still mess up from time to time, but I try not to beat myself up about it, whereas one of the reasons I became a lapsed vegan before was beating myself up if I'd used non animal friendly toothpaste, or learning a new E number.