LR7: Silly Carnivores

Vegan SurpriseI have to remark on some things I find odd about the whole vegan thing. The first is how few people actually know what is included in a vegan diet. Everyone, without exclusion, attempts to define it by what a vegan “can’t” eat. As they begin to ask questions like, “so no fish either,” I try to simplify it for them. It is a plant based diet. I only eat things that come from plants. Inevitably, every adult asks, “what about alcohol”? It’s funny, they seem to think they could be a vegan, but cutting out alcohol would be a deal breaker. When I tell them that alcohol is from plants, they relax a bit.

One question I am asked repeatedly is, “how long are you going to do this vegan thing?” I used to answer with, “who knows”, but then I really thought it through. I became a vegan because it’s a healthier choice, not unlike quitting smoking. So in reality, their question is not dissimilar to asking a former smoker how long he plans on staying away from cigarettes.

“Do you take any supplements?” This is one of the funniest questions of all. The implication is that my diet must be deficient in supplying me with some essential vitamins, minerals or, most likely, protein. Here’s why the question is so funny to me. Almost every single supplement in the world is derived from plants.

Cherry Garcia for Vegans

“Cherry Garcia” for Vegans

Think about this. Only 2% of the American public is vegan and 5% is vegetarian. That means 93% are not. It’s hard for me to believe that the supplement and pharmaceutical businesses have grown so large, by supplying all the vegans that are nutritionally deficient.

Finally, I am often asked if I am a “strict” vegan and someone recently remarked that their daughter is “not as strict as I am.” I must admit, this word “strict” totally confuses me. A vegan only ingests things derived from plants. If you eat chicken, fish, or anything else from an animal, then you are simply someone who eats more vegetables than most or someone who eats meat only occasionally. Oh, and it doesn’t matter if the meat is organic. That has absolutely nothing to do with defining your diet as vegan. So either you are a vegan, or you’re not. There is no more granularity in the definition than that.

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4 thoughts on “LR7: Silly Carnivores

  1. Some of us are vegan-ish. Which is a damn sight better than the S.A.D. I know that my health has improved enormously (I have MS) eating what would be considered a paleo diet-very small amounts of animal protein, and lots of raw fruits and vegetables, but unlike many vegans, no legumes and no gluten. Strange as it seems, staying away from grains entirely makes me feel better. (And yes, there’s the occasional BAD THING that gets eaten.) I think it’s wise to remember that sugar, corn syrup, and refined flours come from plants, but don’t contribute much to one’s well being. A juice fast followed by listening carefully to what the body needs can get you down the road to health that’s right for YOU.

    • I think I may have given the wrong impression. My comment about “strict” veganism is not meant to imply that every other diet is worse, but simply one of semantics. If i say i am a vegan, it means i only eat food from plants. Period. Whether that means good or bad is a separate issue. So if i see a “vegan” order chicken, it means they are not a vegan, even if the chicken is organic.

      • As in – a Catholic believes in no divorce. If you’re divorced, you’re not a practicing Catholic. By definition you can’t be a “divorced Catholic”.
        Semantics, yes.

  2. Pingback: LR7: Learn How to Eat Right | 12for2012

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