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Glen
Feb 7th, 2006, 12:21 AM
I have just read an article by this name in the latest copy of 'The Vegan' and, although it only scratches the surface of the issue, I found it gave me food for thought.

Essentially the article asserts that we probably do more harm than good by adopting such a 'hard-line' approach to our Veganism. For instance, by questioning waiters at restaurants when with friends, a negative image of Veganism is conveyed, showing it as 'too difficult' and therefore putting people off.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that by lessening our devotion to such a 'strict' practice, we may devalue the whole meaning of the Vegan philosiphy, to the point where it is seen as hypocritical and where people do not take it seriously.

What do you think? Could we lessen the suffering of animals and promote a more compassionate way of living by slightly letting down our guard at appropriate times? Would this help us reach a stage where 'full' Veganism is more feasible?

harpy
Feb 7th, 2006, 12:28 AM
Essentially the article asserts that we probably do more harm than good by adopting such a 'hard-line' approach to our Veganism. For instance, by questioning waiters at restaurants when with friends, a negative image of Veganism is conveyed, showing it as 'too difficult' and therefore putting people off.

Yes, I read that too. I think he has a point about "social eating" - it's arguably better PR to show friends etc that it's easy to eat a vegan-ish diet (though it's handy to have some people who are more militant working behind the scenes).

I think I thought he rather overstated some of the difficulties of being vegan in other contexts (e.g. label reading) but I can't remember the details now.

mophoto
Feb 7th, 2006, 01:47 AM
sounds like the PETA approach to veganism. :mad:

ConsciousCuisine
Feb 7th, 2006, 01:54 AM
I have just read an article by this name in the latest copy of 'The Vegan' and, although it only scratches the surface of the issue, I found it gave me food for thought.

Essentially the article asserts that we probably do more harm than good by adopting such a 'hard-line' approach to our Veganism. For instance, by questioning waiters at restaurants when with friends, a negative image of Veganism is conveyed, showing it as 'too difficult' and therefore putting people off.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that by lessening our devotion to such a 'strict' practice, we may devalue the whole meaning of the Vegan philosiphy, to the point where it is seen as hypocritical and where people do not take it seriously.

What do you think? Could we lessen the suffering of animals and promote a more compassionate way of living by slightly letting down our guard at appropriate times? Would this help us reach a stage where 'full' Veganism is more feasible?

In a free society, it is never appropriate to compromise one's values.

People will bitch and moan and find any excuse to avoid doing the right thing...we are a nation of lazy, thoughtless, selfish, self-absorbed whiners who will stop at nothing to indulge our insatiable, greedy appetites for more power, more convinience and more "comfort" and we want it YESTERDAY, so it doesn't serve us as vegans to bow to the powers that be and "fake it" to blend in or make veganism look "easy" just to appease/deceive the masses.

Seaside
Feb 7th, 2006, 03:38 AM
Essentially the article asserts that we probably do more harm than good by adopting such a 'hard-line' approach to our Veganism. For instance, by questioning waiters at restaurants when with friends, a negative image of Veganism is conveyed, showing it as 'too difficult' and therefore putting people off.

This to me is a common complaint made by omnis, and just another of their favorite excuses for why they are not vegan too. I truly feel that no vegan should be held responsible for the bad impression others form of veganism. I strive to maintain the strongest commitment I can to my ethics, which is the only impression I am concerned with making. When others choose to see this in a bad light, that is their mistake, and it is often a willful, deliberate mistake, designed to deflect attention away from their own massive shortcomings, and on to my perceived ones.

That being said, I don't go to many restaurants, and the ones I do go to can cater to my needs without my having to make a public scene. I am a very low-key person, and do not wish to attract undue attention. But veganism isn't what should be blamed when vegans do want to attract attention. :)

Glen
Feb 7th, 2006, 08:28 AM
I personally would find it pretty hard to compromise, but never the less, I think the author has a point. Maybe keeping the 'bad' things like that are best kept low key, but make a point of showing all the great things about Veganism.

Pilaf
Feb 7th, 2006, 09:02 AM
In a free society, it is never appropriate to compromise one's values.

People will bitch and moan and find any excuse to avoid doing the right thing...we are a nation of lazy, thoughtless, selfish, self-absorbed whiners who will stop at nothing to indulge our insatiable, greedy appetites for more power, more convinience and more "comfort" and we want it YESTERDAY, so it doesn't serve us as vegans to bow to the powers that be and "fake it" to blend in or make veganism look "easy" just to appease/deceive the masses.

I bow in reverence to your convictions. :)


She's absolutely right..ya know what? Screw convenience and screw the image. People need to wake up and see things for what they are. Trying to sugar coat your values to make them easier for others to swallow is lame. I ain't never been shy about what I think is right, and I ain't never been afraid to turn people off to me. I always do what I think is best. If people won't even give it a shot... screw 'em. They're not the kind of people who are gonna build a new world with me. I'll find better friends.

harpy
Feb 7th, 2006, 09:57 AM
I personally would find it pretty hard to compromise, but never the less, I think the author has a point. Maybe keeping the 'bad' things like that are best kept low key, but make a point of showing all the great things about Veganism.

That's what I try to do. I don't think one even needs to compromise all that much. Re social meals in restaurants, after my first few years as a vegan, I had had enough of confrontations about ingredients (I'm fine with asking a few questions). Instead, depending on the situation, I usually try to steer the people I'm eating with in the direction of a place that I know does vegan food, phone to arrange something in advance, or else (if all else fails) just have a drink and eat before or afterwards.

gertvegan
Feb 7th, 2006, 12:31 PM
I have just read an article by this name in the latest copy of 'The Vegan' and, although it only scratches the surface of the issue, I found it gave me food for thought.Isn't that the article in the winter 2005 edition? There's a new mag out this week. ;)

The Ingredients v Activism article can be viewed on the Satya website here. (http://www.satyamag.com/sept05/ball.html)

Glen
Feb 7th, 2006, 04:42 PM
Yeah, this is the sort of 'compromise' that was more in my mind. It is all very well saying 'screw the system' etc. But there is little point in sticking to that philosiphy if it does no good.

Yes Gert, just got the new one through the post this morning!

Tigerlily
Feb 7th, 2006, 05:11 PM
My two cents (I agree with Pilaf and CC!): Some people it's "okay" to have just a little bit of dairy once in a while or a bite of egg every now and then, and still be a vegan as it does no harm...my opinion is that the cows or the hens didn't suffer only a "teeny bit" for your "teeny bit" of cheese, etc. :)

DancingWillow
Feb 7th, 2006, 05:50 PM
In a free society, it is never appropriate to compromise one's values.

People will bitch and moan and find any excuse to avoid doing the right thing...we are a nation of lazy, thoughtless, selfish, self-absorbed whiners who will stop at nothing to indulge our insatiable, greedy appetites for more power, more convinience and more "comfort" and we want it YESTERDAY, so it doesn't serve us as vegans to bow to the powers that be and "fake it" to blend in or make veganism look "easy" just to appease/deceive the masses.

I agree CC, but I also don't feel that the animals should suffer because of the majority's laziness, thoughtlessness, and selfishness.

I also don't think that vegans need to compromise their standards in order to make veganism look easier than people would think. As Harpy said, it might require some behind-the-scenes work (looking at the menu in advance, calling restaurants, steering people to more vegan-friendly restaurants, etc), but I think it's very possible to make veganism "easy" or at least "easier" while still upholding your strict standards. When I have gone out with omnis I've never had to compromise my standards, and yet they have been surprised at the variety of delicious foods that I can eat as a vegan (granted that I've only been a vegan for a couple of months so far, and I may very well enounter a situation where there's nothing that I can eat at a restaurant).

I think that making veganism look "easy" and more attractive to people is as important as maintaining your high standards...spreading veganism to thoughtless, selfish people who think it's too hard still reduces the amount of animal suffering and killing.

Artichoke47
Feb 7th, 2006, 08:10 PM
Actually, if you want to appear a certain way to others, making veganism look "easy," eat with them often and enjoy all of the foods you love. :) Go to vegan-friendly restaurants. Asking questions of waiters is not being difficult. Would you call your mother with hypertension "difficult" if she asked for no salt on her salmon dish?

Daniel
Feb 7th, 2006, 08:54 PM
The Spring issue of The Vegan has an article on Revolutionary Veganism. If you haven't read it yet, please do so.

Counter to the Ingredients article, the Revolutionary article suggest we take veganism seriously and offers a perspective supporting the moral base-line. If you want to know what I think, then read the article. ;)

ConsciousCuisine
Feb 7th, 2006, 10:45 PM
I agree CC, but I also don't feel that the animals should suffer because of the majority's laziness, thoughtlessness, and selfishness.

I also don't think that vegans need to compromise their standards in order to make veganism look easier than people would think. As Harpy said, it might require some behind-the-scenes work (looking at the menu in advance, calling restaurants, steering people to more vegan-friendly restaurants, etc), but I think it's very possible to make veganism "easy" or at least "easier" while still upholding your strict standards. When I have gone out with omnis I've never had to compromise my standards, and yet they have been surprised at the variety of delicious foods that I can eat as a vegan (granted that I've only been a vegan for a couple of months so far, and I may very well enounter a situation where there's nothing that I can eat at a restaurant).

I think that making veganism look "easy" and more attractive to people is as important as maintaining your high standards...spreading veganism to thoughtless, selfish people who think it's too hard still reduces the amount of animal suffering and killing.

Obviously we must be smart about our veganism and I would *never* want the animals to suffer for any reason, certainly not because of human laziness, thoughtlessness or selfishness...that's the main reason why I am vegan, really, to make a lasting difference!

Perhaps I was misunderstood so let me be clear:

I have *never*, as a vegan, eaten at a new restaurant withour calling ahead first and I suggest a vegan or at the very least a vegetarian eatery that offers good service, fine food and beautiful atmosphere (a good price too, when I can manage all of the above as well ;) ). I never want to be a "bother" and I have little faith in the ability of others to accomodate me without prior notice, based on years of unpleasant experiences, so I do the kind and smart thing; I call head and educate them and thus allow them an easy way to accomodate me (steamed veggies, plain with olive oil and garlic, plain pasta or rice, beans, salad with oil and vinegar and extra veggies etc. is in many kitchens!) and hopefully any other vegans they may encounter in the future.

More often than not, I cook for others and offer to cook first before going out. That's how I do my best outreach, really, how I show that vegan food is delicious, decadent, divinely satisfying and also the most conscious cuisine on the planet ;)

So, to recap, I won't compromise my standards by blindly eating non-vegan foods and pretending to be vegan, because being deceptive "harms the cause" (after all, who can trust a liar?) but at the same time I *will* go out of my way to share with others how passionately I enjoy vegan food, encouraging them to do so as well (I never have to ask twice ;) ) and show them how delightful eating karma-free can be!

DancingWillow
Feb 8th, 2006, 12:09 AM
Actually, if you want to appear a certain way to others, making veganism look "easy," eat with them often and enjoy all of the foods you love. :) Go to vegan-friendly restaurants. Asking questions of waiters is not being difficult. Would you call your mother with hypertension "difficult" if she asked for no salt on her salmon dish?
I don't want to make it *appear* easy; I want to *show* them that it is...and not only is it easy, it is a compassionate, eco-friendly, healthy, and delicious choice as well, as all of us here would probably agree:) Any aspect of eating out as a vegan is not due to the fact that it's hard; it's due to the fact that our society's cuisine is based on meat and dairy and thus restaurants have few choices suitable for vegans. It can also be due to the ignorance of the staff of the restaurant.

DancingWillow
Feb 8th, 2006, 12:23 AM
I would *never* want the animals to suffer for any reason
Of course not, I would never think that!


I have *never*, as a vegan, eaten at a new restaurant withour calling ahead first and I suggest a vegan or at the very least a vegetarian eatery that offers good service, fine food and beautiful atmosphere (a good price too, when I can manage all of the above as well ;) ). I never want to be a "bother" and I have little faith in the ability of others to accomodate me without prior notice, based on years of unpleasant experiences, so I do the kind and smart thing; I call head and educate them and thus allow them an easy way to accomodate me (steamed veggies, plain with olive oil and garlic, plain pasta or rice, beans, salad with oil and vinegar and extra veggies etc. is in many kitchens!) and hopefully any other vegans they may encounter in the future.
I think this is what I was getting at...you can be a strict vegan (rather than a hypocrite who claims to be a vegan but makes exceptions for the sake of trying to encourage others to be vegan) and still eat out and show others that it's possible to eat great vegan foods not only at home, but at restaurants as well.


More often than not, I cook for others and offer to cook first before going out. That's how I do my best outreach, really, how I show that vegan food is delicious, decadent, divinely satisfying and also the most conscious cuisine on the planet ;)
That's fantastic! I'm jealous of the people who get a taste of your culinary talent:)


So, to recap, I won't compromise my standards by blindly eating non-vegan foods and pretending to be vegan, because being deceptive "harms the cause" (after all, who can trust a liar?) but at the same time I *will* go out of my way to share with others how passionately I enjoy vegan food, encouraging them to do so as well (I never have to ask twice ;) ) and show them how delightful eating karma-free can be!
I won't compromise my standards either, nor do I want to be deceptive, and I apologize if my previous post was poorly articulated and suggested that...:o

ConsciousCuisine
Feb 8th, 2006, 03:26 AM
I won't compromise my standards either, nor do I want to be deceptive, and I apologize if my previous post was poorly articulated and suggested that...:o No need to apolgize at all, :) I just like to expand on ideas and on my beliefs and communicate clearly (as do you, I see, which makes me like your style already! ;) ).

kriz
Feb 8th, 2006, 07:59 AM
I will never compromise my standards to make myself look less extreme or to make veganism look managable. It's all second nature for me and I just live with the pros and cons no matter what. And I'm afraid anything with eggs and cheese would make me throw up. I know too much about that nasty industry, it's not appetizing.

Troub
Feb 8th, 2006, 07:28 PM
People will bitch and moan and find any excuse to avoid doing the right thing...we are a nation of lazy, thoughtless, selfish, self-absorbed whiners who will stop at nothing to indulge our insatiable, greedy appetites for more power, more convinience and more "comfort" and we want it YESTERDAY, so it doesn't serve us as vegans to bow to the powers that be and "fake it" to blend in or make veganism look "easy" just to appease/deceive the masses.

QFT

DancingWillow
Feb 8th, 2006, 08:46 PM
No need to apolgize at all, :) I just like to expand on ideas and on my beliefs and communicate clearly (as do you, I see, which makes me like your style already! ;) ).

:D

pinkgirl
Feb 9th, 2006, 10:11 AM
In a restaurant I am likely to make a fuss if necerssary. These people are being paid to feed me, so they should know what is and is not acceptable. It hasnt come up yet, but I might have to think differently if a friend had gone to great effort for me, ad had inadvertantly given me something I dont eat (ie, quorn, normal marg, etc)

veggiegirl3
Feb 9th, 2006, 08:48 PM
In a restaurant I am likely to make a fuss if necerssary. These people are being paid to feed me, so they should know what is and is not acceptable.

No kidding! I asked if there were any eggs or dairy prodects in something, then found out that the girl had JUST PUT butter in it. I told her that butter IS a dairy product. I didn't make a scene, but I did inform her, because she needs to know! Besides vegans, then are people with allergies too, who could die if they had the wrong information. I would have just been really upset.

DancingWillow
Feb 9th, 2006, 11:04 PM
No kidding! I asked if there were any eggs or dairy prodects in something, then found out that the girl had JUST PUT butter in it. I told her that butter IS a dairy product. I didn't make a scene, but I did inform her, because she needs to know! Besides vegans, then are people with allergies too, who could die if they had the wrong information. I would have just been really upset.

I am surprised how uninformed waiters are sometimes. Many people have some type of allergy or food preference/restriction and cannot eat certain types of foods. There are diabetics, people with high cholesterol, people who need gluten-free or wheat-free foods, people with allergies, people with religious diets (e.g. Kosher) and of course, vegans. I think that ALL waiters should take a mandatory class that describes the different types of diets and what is allowed/not allowed in each one. Also, I think restaurants should have a printed booklet with all the ingredients for each item listed on the menu. That way if someone has a question about an ingredient, they can easily refer to the booklet and check.

In addition to being uninformed, some waiters are just plain rude:mad: When you ask them about an ingredient, they roll their eyes or express annoyence, as if you're being a nuisance.

Michael Benis
Feb 12th, 2006, 07:42 PM
I've read that article before. I think it's hysterical. A sort of humourless maths of conversion, when it's not the ingredient-reading but the po-faced moral verbiage (just liek the article) that puts people off.

Letting little things slip by just sends out the message that compromise is OK, which is probably not quite how the animals involved feel about it.

And it makes it all sound so difficult, which it isn't.

So, to my way of thinking it's a symptoms not solutions article.

And in the end, people tend to be more interested in why someone else is doing something they care passionately about and having their imagination stretched and the facts they know enlarged (sprinkled with a little camaraderie and humour - which helps) than in being converted because it's so easy and groovy two-shoes and it doesn't really matter if your otherwise vegan Eccles Cakes are made with lard.

Oink oink!

Mike