What I’m reading

Today, this deserves its own post.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “What I’m reading

  1. Dustin Rhodes

    I really hope you are right about veganish leading to more vegans, although I am not convinced it does. I am not even sure veganish, in reality, leads to more veganish! (People seem to like to say one thing, and eat another, so to speak).

    This is just me wondering out loud about those so called militant vegans from 15 years ago who now eat every animal in sight. I wonder 2 things: 1.) does the veganish movement actually not actually promote that?; and 2.) I’ve always wondered if animal rights doesn’t attract people with personality/emotional disorders who were just looking for an outlet to express their own rigid ways? Which is to say, the vegan thing was a phase and the meat eating was inevitable. In my decade or so in AR, I’ve encountered so many people like that, and yet the saner people don’t seem to walk away. That’s just my (admittedly very ungenerous and judgmental) observation. I still wonder, though, if it isn’t true.

    Lastly, although I have done plenty of complaining in my own living room, vegans, once again, probably to the mainstream public for being such spoil-sports about the whole Oprah thing. What did we expect? That one lentil smoothie was going to change the world? Sometimes I think we need to keep our negativity and complaining more private–just for the sake of not scaring (even more) people away. The Oprah vegan episode was a farce, in my opinion, but I am trying REALLY, REALLY hard to bite my (vegan, not veganish) tongue.

    Cheers,

    Dustin

    Sigh.

    • Hey Dustin, I’m crashing this comment, if that’s ok? I only read this after I’d written my own (self-centred) post below.

      I have a bit of an allergic reaction to veganish. I think the fear is that in relaxing the parameters, you turn what should be an absolute ethical commitment into something from which people can cherry pick in order to make themselves feel better. If you want to eat Greek yoghurt or eggs from time to time, just call yourself vegetarian and accept the inconsistency in your position. That’s my position, anyway.

      However, the pragmatic side of me has to agree that anything that moves us more in the direction of a more humane and environmental society has to be counted as a good thing. Indeed, I am probably still veganish by most people’s understanding. It took me 4 months to finally cut all trace products in my diet, and an egg sandwich to finally decide that this was something I am committed to. Oh, and I still wear leather. But I had to ease into it. Because quite frankly it’s scary. And the vegan community is scary (in places).

      I’m just making your own point back at you though I think. Because isn’t this what you meant with the Oprah comment? If veganish makes veganism more mainstream, and hence less intimidating to people, then that has to be a good thing long term. Not just so that people will stop giving me so much agro about the whole thing (selfish), but because it might make the idea of a vegetarian or vegan diet more accessible and plausible to them, and prompt a reassessment of their own eating habits as a result.

      Sorry, I’ve gone on. But this is something that is new to me, and the problem with labels (and veganish) is something that I’ve grappled with a lot over the last 4 months. People keep telling me that if I want to occasionally eat a cheese sandwich etc then that’s fine. And I know it’s fine (in the general scheme of things that are fine and not fine). But I also know it’s not vegan. I still don’t really know whether I am to be honest, which is probably why I’m writing ad infinitum in response to this!

      Anyway, interesting stuff. Thanks for the provoking comment :)

      • Dustin Rhodes

        Hi Alison,

        I wrestle with all of these label things, too. And of course I am not opposed to anything that moves us in that veganish direction. I am simply trying to say that ~maybe~ we slow the momentum by watering down the message at every opportunity. (And maybe we don’t?).

        I applaud what you are doing, the changes you are making. And I relate to your situation: About fifteen years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend on the theme of human inconsistency–namely, things we believe in in theory, but don’t practice in reality. I was not a vegetarian, much less a vegan, at the time, but I quickly answered “veganism.” It was one of those issues I was 100% sympathetic toward, and 0% committed to. I didn’t become vegan until a few years later.

        At the time, I was really wrestling with all of the platitudes that Michael Pollan recites: eating meat is honorable, small amounts are good for you, etc. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but that’s where I was. I was living in an organic farming community in North Carolina, with all of that rhetoric, and even though I didn’t believe it in my heart, I practiced eating animals and animal products–against my own beliefs! (Which really is pathetic, but that’s for another conversation I suppose).

        I use my own skewered thinking when I consider how the vegan message is or isn’t delivered—not that I have any answers. I am just wondering out loud.
        :-)

  2. Hey, thanks for the shout out. Your input was a huge help in reassuring me, as was some of the reading around I did on your and others’ recommendations. I’ve had to commit cautiously, as I don’t want to put myself under yet more pressure. I’m rehabbing an injury and completing my PhD as it is, more stress would just = fail! But I definitely feel carrying on is the right thing to do, and I feel much more a peace with the whole thing Plus, you know what? I’m in much better shape than some of those protein guzzling dudes at the gym, so I must be doing something right ;)

    I’m now going to check out those 2010 dietary guidelines. I bet that makes interesting reading..

    ps — that NME article was way more helpful than I’d even expected. I think the first time I read it I was veggie, so wasn’t concerned about the different aminos. It’s a really great resource for vegans though in that regard, cheers!

  3. Lisa

    Hey Matt- Do you know if any of those Asian mock meat places do custom work? I am vegan-ish but aspire to be a cannibal and would like to have the mock-experience of biting into human flesh. A hand or arm molded from soy or gluten would be fine. I hear that humans taste like chicken anyhow.

  4. sarah

    Loved the links to what you are reading! More, please! :)