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Thread: I only eat plants

  1. #1

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    Default I only eat plants

    In situations where I'm not certain that someone will understand what the word vegan means I've often wondered what the best way to describe my diet would be. I don't like reading off a long list of things I don't eat because invariably the person who has no concept of veganism will forget things (I recently went to a pub where the guy thought that vegans could not eat wheat!). And then listening to an audio book I learned from an anecdote that the easiest thing to say is that I only eat plants. It's simple yet easy to understand. And a waiter will not have to remember a long list of things.

  2. #2
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    I sometimes say "just vegetables please". The only thing is that people don't always realise that the vegetables shouldn't be covered in butter, salad cream etc, but it's a starting point.

    "Plants" might work better because it's more obvious that it includes wheat and so forth. Have you tried it out yet?

  3. #3
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    In Norwegian there's a word called "vegetabilsk", meaning 'made of plants', which IMO is easier to use than saying that one only eats plants, because lots of people seem to forget that a stuff they use regularly is plant based even if it doesn't look like a plant (like eg. sunflower oil, soy sauce or coconut milk).

    Is there a similar word in English?

    Anyway, if I use 'vegetabilsk' I make sure I say vegan as well, otherwise they'll never realize that when talking about food, vegan means plant based food/food made of plants only.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  4. #4
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Yes, it's good to say "vegan" but if you get a blank look then it's handy to be able to explain in a concise way. I sometimes say "anything from the vegetable kingdom" which is probably similar to vegetabilsk? but it's not always comprehensible to someone whose first language isn't English, whereas "only vegetables" is

  5. #5

    Default Re: I only eat plants

    My hubby and I are going to his works xmas party this year, and it's our first year as stirct vegans. The pub where we are going were really nice about it, and asked us for suggestions/ideas on what to cook. When we gave a few ideas, the person he spoke to actually said 'That sounds nicer then the general vegetarian set meal'

    I think it's hard though, you need the strike the balance between getting your belly full within risking eating something not suitable, and employing a bit of microactivism by letting people know what vegan means, and that it's not just about eating the meal minus meat and dairy' I think it's just the connotations of 'vegetables only' I don't like that much.

    Having said all this, I very, very, very rarely eat out because a) it costs a lot and b) I've never really enjoyed meals out.
    Quitting something because it's hard is wrong, and quitting something because it's wrong is hard. One takes cowardice, the other bravery.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    I just say I eat nothing that comes from an animal. But it also depends on circumstances; someone in a restaurant might interpret tht as being meat only, not even thinking about dairy. So depending on what I want to order - risotto here in Italy for example - I'd say "no butter, no cheese and no cream." I think it very much depends on the situation.

  7. #7
    RubyDuby
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    It would be nice if there was a nice concise way to explain veganism to restaurants, but IMO the only way to be sure is to add on the NO list... butter, stock from chicken or beef, fish sauce, whatever may be in that particular dish. People just don't think about those little ingredients. Even if you said, "I only eat vegetables", I don't think there would be a connection in their mind to sauces, butter, and other added ingredients.

    My boyfriend still has trouble remembering the details (ordered a smoothie that had whey in it bc didn't bother asking what the "protien" was from) and we've been together over a year now.
    Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

  8. #8
    RubyDuby
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Quote fiamma View Post
    I just say I eat nothing that comes from an animal.
    I think that's the best way, then add on the "no" list...
    (I just totally repeated your entire post in my own words. oops )
    Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    ^ Great minds think alike, see?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Just tell people that you're a Vegan. If they give you a blank look throw a dictionary at them.

  11. #11
    Son of Otis Panzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    When asked what I eat and dont eat, I usually just say Im Vegan, They usually say what the hells that. I tell them that it means I eat human babies, that just shuts them up and they walk away. I have little tollerance for those who judge me by what I do or do not choose to eat.
    I am the Devil, and I'm here to do the Devils work.

  12. #12
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    I must try that one Panzer, though perhaps not when trying to order a meal!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Quote Glen Lambert View Post
    Just tell people that you're a Vegan. If they give you a blank look throw a dictionary at them.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Quote fiamma View Post
    I just say I eat nothing that comes from an animal.

    I usually go with this one and it’s interesting that people's views of animals comes out. My stepmother is usually really good at buying vegan items for when I visit but recently brought some sesame seed bars in the ingredients was honey. She was confused when I said I could not eat them due to the honey. She tried to assure me (half jokingly) no bees are killed to produce honey. I explained the honey production is still animal production and cruel, I explain being a vegan is not only about not eating meat, diary etc but not using animals for food (and or any) products. I find it interesting that the size and type of animal is a factor when talking to people about being a vegan. When I tell people I’m vegan lots of people say things like "oh I only eat organic chickens and hardly ever eat beef" as if to reassure me they share my views I respond a life's a life and choose not to kill any animal

  15. #15
    Making changes Est's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    I find it interesting that the size and type of animal is a factor when talking to people about being a vegan.


    Yes, I hear this a lot too. As though a cow or a pig is more important than a chicken or a fish

    I always start by saying that I'm vegan, and then add an explanation along the lines of, "I don't eat anything that's from an animal, so that means..." and go into the NO list.

    Reading that back, it sounds like a negative way to explain it, but in restaurants I find it's vital to be absolutely clear about what I want to avoid. Saying what I *do* want is a good follow up, but as others have said, it's easy for butter, non-vegan stocks etc to creep in if I haven't given the NO list too!

  16. #16
    [LMNOP] ellaminnowpea's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    I used to say that I only eat plants. But then people would always say "Oh, so you're vegan?"
    Now, I typically only give an explanation if I'm in a foreign country.
    I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~ Alcott

  17. #17
    RubyDuby
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Quote ellaminnowpea View Post
    I used to say that I only eat plants. But then people would always say "Oh, so you're vegan?"
    yeah, I guess it depends on the restaurant and their reaction to the word vegan.
    some places are really informed!
    Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

  18. #18
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    Unhappy Re: I only eat plants

    Quote Est View Post

    Yes, I hear this a lot too. As though a cow or a pig is more important than a chicken or a fish

    I always start by saying that I'm vegan, and then add an explanation along the lines of, "I don't eat anything that's from an animal, so that means..." and go into the NO list.

    Reading that back, it sounds like a negative way to explain it, but in restaurants I find it's vital to be absolutely clear about what I want to avoid. Saying what I *do* want is a good follow up, but as others have said, it's easy for butter, non-vegan stocks etc to creep in if I haven't given the NO list too!
    I agree-you can't just order a vegetable soup or veggies because most soups use chicken or beef stocks, veggies can be sauteed in the wrong oils, beans can have lard in them etc. If you eat out, you've got to be specific and ask questions. Otherwise you have NO idea what you're really eating

  19. #19
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    veggies can be sauteed in the wrong oils, beans can have lard in them
    What kind of oil would that be?
    I've never heard about beans with lard in them, or (until right now) heard someone suggest that this is something that can be done, which makes me assume that this is very rare...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    In Mexican cookery, lard, especially home-rendered, is a traditional and 'flavorful' addition to beans and many other dishes. Good ol' cheap vegetable oil is typical of most street food today (the bottle is there to see) but in good restaurants: watch out!

    Also baked beans in the U.S. are better known as pork-and-beans with a small addition of nasty lard.

    Regarding how-to-explain-vegan:

    No matter which terms and lists I use, observing the wheels turning inside another head trying to apply this new dichotomy -plant/animal- where they only understood til now FOOD, gives me no end of amusement.

    I feel like the miracle worker holding Helen Keller's hand under running water and signing til she understands MEANING for the first time.

    Okay, a wild analogy, but ya know?
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  21. #21
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Good ol' cheap vegetable oil is typical of most street food today (the bottle is there to see) but in good restaurants: watch out!
    But... watch out for what? Elephant Oil? Cow oil? Giraffe oil?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  22. #22
    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    watch out for lard in place of oil in Mexican/Latin American restaurants.
    Same as goose fat in French food, I imagine.
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  23. #23
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Exactly. Coming from a hispanic background, and watching my grandmother cook for years, I know they use shortening/lard in making tortillas, beans, fried potatoes, so many things!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Maybe I'm just speaking for myself personally, but I prefer to do without the lard ;-)

  25. #25
    RubyDuby
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Quote Korn View Post
    What kind of oil would that be?
    I've never heard about beans with lard in them, or (until right now) heard someone suggest that this is something that can be done, which makes me assume that this is very rare...
    lard is very common in pintos and refried beans.
    Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

  26. #26
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    Re. lard: I've never seen it here, not in canned refried beans, and not in restaurants serving eg. Mexican or other bean based meals, so we're probably too far a way from the South America for people to consider doing it their way. And since I've haven't even heard about non-plant cooking oils, I assume that if something is fried/cooked/sauteed in oil, that oil is plant based. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong!
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  27. #27
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    I can confirm that lard is frequently used in cooking, mainly home-style or "traditional" cooking all over the German-speaking countries as well as most of the Benelux states, and a few British and Irish people I know use it, too. It's a sort of luxury ingredients, and due to health/money/availability issues, many people use butter/margerine instead, but it's still there, especially at fancy restaurants.

  28. #28
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    I don't doubt that lard, dairy margarine/butter etc is frequently used in Europe, but it's new to me that lard is commonly found in cooked beans in Europe - too bad... Then again, I've hardly made any dinner ever with animal products in ever, and never used lard + only have vegan cookbooks, so what do I know...

    There's also a language aspect to take into consideration here. If I eg. should say I eat only vegetables (translated into Norwegian) here, they would probably ask why I don't eat legumes, rice or fruit. I have a feeling that the word 'vegetables' is used more or less as a replacement for 'plants' in some countries. Also - cook (the equivalent Norwegian word) normally means boil here. While a lot of food can be fried in various animal products, boiling eg. beans in animal products is less common - but of course, some people add dairy butter wgeb they cook anything, so at restaurants that don't know me, I mention that I don't use any animal products.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  29. #29

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    Default Re: I only eat plants

    What I'm always glad of in the UK is that vegetarian dishes in restaurants are marked vegetarian which makes life much easier. I then just have to ask about dairy products, eggs and honey in the food. However, I much prefer eating in vegetarian restaurants or restaurants where vegan items are clearly marked on the menu. Then I know what I'm getting.

    My husband also has a hard time understanding why vegans don't eat honey. He knows why I object to all other animal foods but I guess he doesn't see why you'd have any concern for bees or other insects for that matter. I personally try to avoid killing insects that come into our home and usher them outside, even wasps which I have a real fear of. I'm glad that insects are infrequent visitors to our home. When I lived in New York, these giant cockroaches called water bugs were permanent residents of our building and I wonder what I'd do now that I'm vegan, if I still lived there. I'm glad I don't have to make the choice. Taking one daddy long legs outside every couple of months is ok. But we used to see those cockroaches on a regualr basis.

    I think the reason why some people put chicken and fish into a different category is that they are not mammals. Some people feel more empathy towards other mammals, empathy they do not necessarily feel towards birds or fish, especially fish. I met a former "vegetarian" who said that she still ate fish because she simply didn't care them.

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