37 votes

I gave up meat and gained so much more | A tale of one person's life, culture, and growing up

88 comments

  1. [9]
    Spydrchick
    Link
    Context: vegan for almost 2 decades, vegitarian or pescatarian for at least a decade prior. This is a beautifully written and compassionate view of what it means to be vegan. This article...
    • Exemplary

    Context: vegan for almost 2 decades, vegitarian or pescatarian for at least a decade prior.

    This is a beautifully written and compassionate view of what it means to be vegan. This article resonates because I too live in Wisconsin, and understand the cultural impacts of being vegan along with the realities of factory farming. Veal crates are especially distressing.

    The one thing that stands out to me is the abundance of options, when one might assume there is less. If you can cook even a little bit or own a knife, the world of cuisine is just out there. Bread becomes such a joy. Wheat, yeast and water transformed into deliciousness. Beans and rice are the cornerstone of so many dishes from every corner of the Earth. Pasta and noodles paired with sauces and veg. Fruits, nuts become such yummy snacks.

    Spices and seasonings open up a huge panoply of flavors and combinations. With some basics: garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, ancho, cinnamon, thyme, tarragon, oregano, fennel, bay leaves; you can make almost any dish by blending to create Mexican, Italian, Carribean, Greek, Indian, etc.

    I am not secretive about my veganism, but at the same time I do not announce it to the world. I am allergic to dairy (hives and wheezing, not tummy issues), so it makes it easier to refuse food graciously. Other times I just say I am plant based, depending on the crowd. My friends know I'm vegan and my immediate family are also vegan. Day to day is easier. I make no judgements of others as I too was once a meat eater. I love sharing recipes and cookimg for others.

    Please consider reading this and maybe also consider moving away from meat and dairy. The resources for doing so are endless and it creates such a positive change. Being a whole food, plant based vegan has improved my health. It has helped me cope with climate change and environmental issues knowing I am no longer contributing to factory farming of animals. And while I still get upset about the animal cruelty, I am no longer a part of that system. By opting out, I get peace of mind.

    42 votes
    1. [7]
      AlienAliena
      Link Parent
      I would love to know some of your favorite vegetarian recipes! Particularly interesting pasta recipes, trying to make my Italian family see that you can cook a meal without pork lol. But thank you...

      I would love to know some of your favorite vegetarian recipes! Particularly interesting pasta recipes, trying to make my Italian family see that you can cook a meal without pork lol.

      But thank you for this comment:

      Bread becomes such a joy. Wheat, yeast and water transformed into deliciousness. Beans and rice are the cornerstone of so many dishes from every corner of the Earth. Pasta and noodles paired with sauces and veg. Fruits, nuts become such yummy snacks.
      Spices and seasonings open up a huge panoply of flavors and combinations. With some basics: garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, ancho, cinnamon, thyme, tarragon, oregano, fennel, bay leaves; you can make almost any dish by blending to create Mexican, Italian, Carribean, Greek, Indian, etc.

      I've been slowly making the transition away from meals where the main ingredient is meat so that my only real intake of meat is the occasional turkey and cheese sandwich and sushi, and otherwise everything is plant-based or just flat out plants (small steps). Lots of mushrooms and pasta! My biggest fear starting this transition was losing access to so many flavors, but really it's been opening me up to soooo many new tastes that I'd never experienced before. I've fallen in love with every ingredient on my spice rack when I used to not be able to stand spices like fennel seeds or bay leaves, I've even started gardening my own herbs and spices on my balcony.

      I've been able to get so much more creative in finding way to make vegetables the main course rather than having it be meat every time, but it's also taken a lot of time finding out that vegetables and other greens COULD be a main course. You put all that discovery in a really pretty way and I appreciate it!

      11 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        There's actually a long history of dishes that are vegetarian or vegan in Italy, though it depends on the region. The Italian dishes that people from the Americas are most familiar are American...

        There's actually a long history of dishes that are vegetarian or vegan in Italy, though it depends on the region. The Italian dishes that people from the Americas are most familiar are American innovations where meat has been added to the dish. Some are still pretty famous, like pasta aglio e olio. Some of the dishes you probably already love can be easily made without meat like alfredo or carbonara.

        6 votes
      2. [4]
        InsertNameHere
        Link Parent
        The other person replied with some more specific suggestions, but in more general terms I do recommend looking up "traditionally vegan dish in XYZ country" and pick a random country from all over...

        The other person replied with some more specific suggestions, but in more general terms I do recommend looking up "traditionally vegan dish in XYZ country" and pick a random country from all over the world. You'll end up with a lot of really good recipes you never would have thought of. It's a lot of fun to make things that way

        4 votes
        1. AlienAliena
          Link Parent
          That's a great idea! And it also doubles as an exploration of a peoples culinary culture. I've been eating a lot of vegetable solyanka from a nearby Russian restaurant so that might be what I go...

          That's a great idea! And it also doubles as an exploration of a peoples culinary culture. I've been eating a lot of vegetable solyanka from a nearby Russian restaurant so that might be what I go for first. Thank you for your comment!

          6 votes
        2. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          @AlienAliena I recently picked up a book called Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry. It's one of the most interesting cookbooks I have picked up. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I have been...

          @AlienAliena I recently picked up a book called Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry. It's one of the most interesting cookbooks I have picked up. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I have been reading it like a book because I found the commentary extremely interesting because it covers some of the roots of the food and how it has been adapted to the different climates and food availability of the Americas. I'm also fascinated how they put a "soundtrack" to it; each recipe has a recommended song.

          I'd love to read a book about Afro-Carrib-American food history if anyone has something they could recommend.

          4 votes
          1. DefinitelyNotAFae
            Link Parent
            Ooh foodways are fun, worth checking out, ty

            Ooh foodways are fun, worth checking out, ty

            2 votes
      3. Spydrchick
        Link Parent
        Thank you for the kind words. This is a go to recipe in our house. They made this at work, everyone thought there was cheese in it! Stuffed shells, about 6 servings For the "ricotta" 1 15 oz block...

        Thank you for the kind words. This is a go to recipe in our house.

        They made this at work, everyone thought there was cheese in it!

        Stuffed shells, about 6 servings

        For the "ricotta"
        1 15 oz block of firm tofu, drained
        Juice of ½ lemon
        3 Tbl Nutritional yeast
        1 tsp granulated garlic
        1 tsp granulated roasted garlic
        1Tbl pizza seasoning (or Italian seasoning)
        salt and pepper to taste

        Whir everything up in a food processor until combined

        Boil the shells as directed on the package. (16 for this recipe, I used Barilla brand jumbo shells) Drain and stuff, see below

        I use 1 16 oz jar of Rao's Arrabbiata (if you don't care for spicy, use marinara) sauce. In a 9 or 10 inch square pan spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom. Stuff the shells with the tofu ricotta. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Bake for 45 min at 350°.

        Cashew Parm:

        1 ½ cups of raw cashews
        ¼ cup nutritional yeast
        2 tsp granulated garlic
        generous pinch of salt

        Pulse in the food processor until a crumbly consistency. Store in freezer.

        Sprinkle the cashew parm over any dish where you would use parmesean. I haven't tried using it to make a crusted tofu, but I keep meaning to give it a go.

        2 votes
    2. gpl
      Link Parent
      Thanks for writing this up. Late last year I decided to move away from red meat as a first step towards maybe becoming vegetarian, and I definitely know what you mean re: abundance of options. I...

      Thanks for writing this up. Late last year I decided to move away from red meat as a first step towards maybe becoming vegetarian, and I definitely know what you mean re: abundance of options. I initially thought this move would narrow my menu options (both when eating out and cooking at home), but surprisingly I have found the opposite to be true. Consciously avoiding meat options has forced me to explore a whole lot of foods I never would have before. I'm also saving money and eating healthier, too.

      I still eat chicken and fish, so I'm not even pescatarian at this point, but I eventually hope to cut chicken out as well. Maybe even dairy one day down the line, even though I absolutely adore cheese. One step at a time. I guess I'm writing this comment to let people know that even if you're not fully vegetarian or vegan, you can still make changes that move you that way, and you might find that it's not as difficult as you may initially think.

      5 votes
  2. [52]
    DefinitelyNotAFae
    Link
    I'm one of those folks with a lot of empathy - I try to maintain good boundaries but the news can get to me sometimes for example. And I don't like our current animal agriculture. I also, no...

    I'm one of those folks with a lot of empathy - I try to maintain good boundaries but the news can get to me sometimes for example. And I don't like our current animal agriculture. I also, no matter how much I poke at it, don't think that eating meat or animal products themselves are wrong. And I sometimes I think that clearly there's something wrong with my morality system for that, because so many other compassionate people feel differently.

    And also, I don't have the energy to do more lifestyle change. I'm hanging on by my fingernails and already feel I'm not caring enough about Gaza, about poverty, about everything I do feel really strongly about. So like this is just one more thing, where I'm not living up to avoiding factory farmed products as much as I want already. I appreciate the passion, and I love a number of vegan meals I've had, but I don't feel it.

    32 votes
    1. [41]
      sparksbet
      Link Parent
      I also am not particularly swayed by the ethical arguments for veganism. I do think we should take major steps to change the current state of animal agriculture, which can be incredibly cruel. And...

      I also am not particularly swayed by the ethical arguments for veganism. I do think we should take major steps to change the current state of animal agriculture, which can be incredibly cruel. And I think eating less meat is probably very good for the environment and probably also good for my health, so I'm all for eating more plant-based meals. But I also simply am not convinced that it's inherently morally wrong to kill animals for the purpose of eating their meat or using their animal products -- not unless you hold humans to a standard that's utterly disconnected from the rest of the animal kingdom.

      What frustrates me about many proponents of veganism (not the author of this article, fwiw) is an all-or-nothing black-and-white approach. If one's goal is to end the cruelty to animals and environmental impacts that come out of current animal agriculture, we should not treat full veganism as the only positive change. There is a huge subset of people who, for a myriad of different reasons, will never do that. Encouraging many people to eat less meat and to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diets is likely to have a larger effect that convincing a very small subset of those people to go 100% vegan. The response to "I could never give up cheese" shouldn't be dismissal or castigation, but instead a more encouraging attitude of "That's okay, do what you can."

      I think the portion of the article about adding new foods to the diet rather than simply removing meat is really great. This is something we can and should encouraging anyone to do -- regardless of their commitment to the author's philosophy of nonviolence towards animals. That's absolutely not something I'll criticize the author for believing, and I honestly admire her for it to an extent. But in terms of evoking positive practical change in the world through veganism, I think a little more flexibility is required.

      39 votes
      1. [6]
        tanglisha
        Link Parent
        The all or nothing approach is alienating. I have no idea what (specifically) vegans eat everyday and feel satisfied with. I've eaten at vegan restaurants. A couple were wonderful, but most left...

        The all or nothing approach is alienating. I have no idea what (specifically) vegans eat everyday and feel satisfied with.

        I've eaten at vegan restaurants. A couple were wonderful, but most left me still feeling hungry.

        I appreciate the author naming a few dishes they enjoy, it's not something that usually happens. Their mention of everything complimenting meat feels like a clue to how they actually eat - lots of small dishes each meal, like tapas? That sounds really time consuming, but maybe it isn't.

        11 votes
        1. [2]
          catahoula_leopard
          Link Parent
          I recently gave up 100% veganism after over a decade of being vegan. My thoughts on the ethics of eating/farming animals haven't even changed, I just simply couldn't stand the limited diet any...

          The all or nothing approach is alienating. I have no idea what (specifically) vegans eat everyday and feel satisfied with.

          I recently gave up 100% veganism after over a decade of being vegan. My thoughts on the ethics of eating/farming animals haven't even changed, I just simply couldn't stand the limited diet any longer. I still think it's good to eat a lot of vegan food, I just started questioning why veganism is the only cause that is seen as a completely black and white thing.

          I always thought my fellow vegans were full of shit when they would claim that there are vegan cheeses that are anywhere near as delicious as real cheese, but after learning how to cook things like chicken and eggs for just a few months, my mind is completely blown thinking about all the flavors and different cuisines I've missed out on for my entire life. (I was raised in the Midwest by someone who didn't know how to cook, then went vegan when I was 19, so this is basically my first time eating a quality diet of all types of foods.)

          The thing is, there are lots of tasty, healthy vegan meals! I'm an excellent cook, and when I make vegan food for omnivores they always enjoy it. My problem is, I can only think of so many different ways to eat beans, mock duck, and beyond beef. No matter how good a handful of vegan dishes are, after years of eating them, it gets so old. I learned everything there was to learn about cooking beans and vegetables, and after that, all I started thinking about was all the different cuisines and dishes that were off limits for me.

          And of those protein options I mentioned, beans are the only one that is affordable. Tofu can be cheap, but I only enjoy tofu when I can buy high quality locally made tofu, in which case it starts to cost just as much as meat does. Seitan is rubbery and bland, whether store bought or homemade (mock duck is good seitan, not sure how they manage that, but it's still a bit rubbery.) Vegan chicken is expensive, flavorless, and is really only good in as a fried chicken nugget.

          I've eaten at vegan restaurants. A couple were wonderful, but most left me still feeling hungry.

          I gave up on vegan restaurants during my time being vegan. Almost all vegan restaurants are way too focused on "health foods," and they would rarely add enough fat, flavor, or MSG to make up for all of it that's missing when you don't have meat. The vegan places that aren't focused on health food are just bland generic burger places. There is one good vegan burger place in my city that makes a good, greasy, flavorful burger and that's about it. My home cooked vegan food is better than restaurants, but damn, can I just enjoy a spontaneous dinner out without picking the perfect restaurant that can make decent vegan food? And even then I was limited to a couple of options on their menu. It was exhausting.

          Their mention of everything complimenting meat feels like a clue to how they actually eat

          I never understood this argument, even when I was vegan. Of all vegan protein options, beyond beef has the best flavor and texture by far. But it cost me $2.50 per serving, you still have to season it and use it in a good dish with lots of flavors, and even with all that it's not even 10% as delicious as a simple chicken thigh seasoned with just salt and pepper.

          Vegetables and other vegan foods have great flavors and textures, yes, but they taste every bit as good when they're complimented by flavorful chicken or pork instead of bland seitan or beans.


          Ironically, veganism gave me my deep love of cooking, which in turn ultimately led me to give up on veganism. I had to learn so much about flavors and cooking techniques in order to make good vegan food to eat for ten years. Cooking became my main hobby and one of my strongest talents. And, well, then I got tired of being restricted from 99% of recipes, ingredients, and techniques available to other people. I cannot even begin to explain how much less effort and thought I have to put into weeknight dinners now that I've added even just a few animal products back into my diet. And the food is better. I'm sorry, it just is.

          I admire vegans who are able to stick with it, and I think with a lot of work you can make it relatively healthy and tasty, but I can't do it anymore. I love food, flavors, and different cuisines too much.

          21 votes
          1. sparksbet
            Link Parent
            I suspect the discussion of everything complimenting meat is influenced by the author of the article's background. Certainly there are cuisines where this is reasonably common, especially when...

            Their mention of everything complimenting meat feels like a clue to how they actually eat.

            I suspect the discussion of everything complimenting meat is influenced by the author of the article's background. Certainly there are cuisines where this is reasonably common, especially when meat is cheap. Growing up in the US Midwest most meals were one big meat dish with a starch and veggies as sides. In that context, meat was definitely the centerpiece of every dish. By contrast, currently I make a lot of stir-fries, and in many even when meat is included it's not the centerpiece of the dish in the same way.

            6 votes
        2. sparksbet
          Link Parent
          I make plenty of incidentally vegan or vegetarian dishes at home that are pretty damn filling. The specific dish matters more than the presence or absence of meat on that front imo. And I don't...

          I make plenty of incidentally vegan or vegetarian dishes at home that are pretty damn filling. The specific dish matters more than the presence or absence of meat on that front imo. And I don't take a tapas approach usually, I'm a "make one thing and serve it with rice or noodles if necessary" type of cook for everyday things. Lmk if you're curious and I can share some tips (I'm with the author of the article on chana masala, for instance -- chickpeas are very filling, so serving it alongside rice is plenty for a very filling meal imo)

          8 votes
        3. owyongsk
          Link Parent
          There is however a potential net benefit for animals from their advocacy. When advocating for a position, vegans can have a radical flank effect which helps generate awareness and shifts the...

          The all or nothing approach is alienating.

          There is however a potential net benefit for animals from their advocacy. When advocating for a position, vegans can have a radical flank effect which helps generate awareness and shifts the Overton window. The vegans can advocate for a more radical stance while a more moderate group such as Reducetarians can advocate for reducing meat which will make the stance more palatable.

          8 votes
        4. InsertNameHere
          Link Parent
          It's really not a monolith at all. What people eat will vary dramatically depending on who you ask and where in the world they live. People with cultures that do large dishes will generally still...

          It's really not a monolith at all. What people eat will vary dramatically depending on who you ask and where in the world they live. People with cultures that do large dishes will generally still do plenty of large dishes and those use to small dishes will generally do small dishes.

          It can be as simple or complex as you want. For instance, you can still make a quick sandwich, peanut butter and jelly, hummus, plant-based meats, etc. Or you can make a more involved dish like Koshari (Egyptian street food that's really good and traditionally fully vegan)

          One great way to find recipes that you never would have thought of is looking up "traditionally plant-based food in XYZ country". I love doing that, just pick a random country and give it a go. You'll for instance, find that say Ethiopian Injera bread is great and that are a lot of good split-pea and lentil based stews among many other dishes in Ethiopian cuisine

          7 votes
      2. [9]
        psi
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        We already do hold ourselves to completely separate standards. Animals behave in all sorts of ways that would be considered sociopathic if replicated by a human. Usually we excuse animal behavior...

        But I also simply am not convinced that it's inherently morally wrong to kill animals for the purpose of eating their meat or using their animal products -- not unless you hold humans to a standard that's utterly disconnected from the rest of the animal kingdom.

        We already do hold ourselves to completely separate standards. Animals behave in all sorts of ways that would be considered sociopathic if replicated by a human. Usually we excuse animal behavior by saying that animals lack morals, as most DND players already know. We don't usually excuse our immoral behavior by comparing ourselves to animals.

        Not that I'm trying to argue for militant/all-or-nothing veganism (I'm but a mere vegetarian). At its core, veganism is about minimizing harm "as far as is possible and practicable". It's an inherently subjective standard -- maybe what I consider practical is not what you would.

        8 votes
        1. [3]
          sparksbet
          Link Parent
          Yeah I ultimately agree that it's a subjective standard, and I respect people who are vegan for moral reasons even if I don't have the exact same ethical beliefs as them. It's still probably a...

          Yeah I ultimately agree that it's a subjective standard, and I respect people who are vegan for moral reasons even if I don't have the exact same ethical beliefs as them. It's still probably a good thing they're doing, and even if it's morally neutral it's an impressive show of discipline in a culture that very much prioritizes meat-eating.

          I understand that we hold ourselves to completely separate standards than animals in plenty of other ways, but I simply have yet to see an ethical argument against killing animals for food/products that really convinces me that it is immoral from first principles. Animal cruelty is, of course, a whole separate thing and the arguments there make sense to me, and I completely understand believing that consuming animal products in the modern world is inextricable from the cruelty of the agricultural industry in the production of those products. But I'm just not convinced that killing an animal to use its products is inherently immoral on its own. I can understand arguments against, say, hunting animals for sport (despite the fact that this is also seen in the animal kingdom -- cats are notorious for it) but not when it comes to killing animals for meat or other useful materials.

          I think, for me, the accompanying beliefs I'd have to hold to believe it's inherently wrong to use anything that involves harming an animal would result in my needing to exclude a shitton of other *non-*animal products from my diet for the ways in which they harm humans or the environment, to an extent that it would be extremely difficult to feed myself without a ton of guilt and shame. I was raised in an environment that nurtured my propensity for all-or-nothing black-and-white thinking regarding what's right and wrong, so I don't think this is necessarily something that would effect most other people who decide to go vegan. But the echoes of that thought process I see in arguments for all-or-nothing veganism make me uncomfortable as a result.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            psi
            Link Parent
            Whenever we consider how we ought to interact with other creatures (whether they be human or non-human), it's useful to have some sort of framework in mind. So let me offer a simple framework, a...

            Whenever we consider how we ought to interact with other creatures (whether they be human or non-human), it's useful to have some sort of framework in mind. So let me offer a simple framework, a small twist on the golden rule sometimes called the "platinum rule": we should strive to treat others as they want to be treated. If you choose to employ this guiding principle, you will still need to balance other groups's interests (yours included -- the platinum rule can be very greedy!), but I believe this rule to be a much better starting point when considering how we ought to treat animals. @RoyalHenOil made this point well already, so I won't rehash it here.

            It's a task easier said than done. We've only ever been humans -- how could we know what an animal wants? In general, we can't. But we can at least know what animals want sometimes. I can tell by my cat's meows whether she wants to play or to eat or to simply be noticed.

            But you don't need to be an animal behaviorist to understand that all animals share at least one universal desire, a desire hardwired into their genes since the dawn of life itself: the desire to live.

            So let us return to our guiding principle: we want to balance our innate human desire to eat meat with an animal's innate desire to survive and frolic and do animal things. Is there something we can do to balance our wants? I mean, the answer is obviously yes -- we can either choose to eat meat substitutes instead, or if we do continue to eat meat, we can at least make sure that it's worth it.

            And if there's one thing I could impress upon you, it's this: it's not worth eating mediocrely prepared meat. A cow has to suffer from birth to become a half-eaten microwave burrito (as I've written about before). I have a hard time understanding any framework under which that could be justified, unless that framework involves animals having infinitesimal intrinsic worth.

            I was raised in an environment that nurtured my propensity for all-or-nothing black-and-white thinking regarding what's right and wrong, so I don't think this is necessarily something that would effect most other people who decide to go vegan. But the echoes of that thought process I see in arguments for all-or-nothing veganism make me uncomfortable as a result.

            Ironically, I think you're still engaging in some level of black-and-white thinking here. Just because an action is immoral doesn't mean the correction rises to the level of being actionable. For instance, I would consider piracy wrong, but that doesn't prevent me from occasionally making the (selfish) calculation that my gain outweighs their lost. Similarly, I think it's possible to acknowledge that eating meat is selfish without necessarily giving it up entirely.

            You seem to be caught-up on the assumption that embracing animal empathy would necessitate veganism, but I'd like to push back on this belief. One of the most empathetic people I ever met was a vegetarian. Her ethical convictions were so strong that she eschewed eating chocolate -- at that time, I didn't even know there could be ethical objections to chocolate. So I asked her rather pointedly: well, why aren't you a vegan then? And her answer was the same as yours: she didn't know whether she'd be able to fully commit, and she feared failing and backsliding on the principles she already held dear.

            So I would end this treaties with a platitude: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Veganism is probably better than vegetarianism which is probably better than meat reduction, but all of those are better than doing nothing.

            4 votes
            1. sparksbet
              Link Parent
              I absolutely agree with this! I cook a lot of plant-based meals and cook meat myself to a relatively limited degree as a result. I think this is a slight misread of what I was saying here, but I...

              And if there's one thing I could impress upon you, it's this: it's not worth eating mediocrely prepared meat.

              I absolutely agree with this! I cook a lot of plant-based meals and cook meat myself to a relatively limited degree as a result.

              You seem to be caught-up on the assumption that embracing animal empathy would necessitate veganism, but I'd like to push back on this belief.

              I think this is a slight misread of what I was saying here, but I can see where you got it. The type of issue I'm trying to describe in the comment there is more like this: if I accept that veganism is the only moral choice because consumption/use of any product that resulted in an animal's death is immoral, I must also eschew the use of other products that result in human suffering and death (much like your friend's reason for eschewing chocolate, but extended to a huge variety of products because the world really fucking sucks). If you've seen The Good Place, it's very similar to Chidi's personal struggles.

              So I would end this treaties with a platitude: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Veganism is probably better than vegetarianism which is probably better than meat reduction, but all of those are better than doing nothing.

              This I also absolutely agree with, and it's probably a more pithy way of saying something I tried to express in my first comment.

              6 votes
        2. [5]
          InsertNameHere
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Humans also behave in all those horrific ways too. Because that behavior can exist in humans, then following that logic, one could use it as justification to farm and kill humans? Edit: Oh yes...

          Humans also behave in all those horrific ways too. Because that behavior can exist in humans, then following that logic, one could use it as justification to farm and kill humans?

          Edit: Oh yes that definition is certainly subject to a lot of discussion. Many people who are vegan don't like the "as far as is possible and practical" wording and argue for differing definitions for exactly how subjective it is

          2 votes
          1. papasquat
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I don't think they were saying that because animals act in sociopathic ways, we hold them to different standards. They were saying that we hold animals to different standards, thus we don't have...

            I don't think they were saying that because animals act in sociopathic ways, we hold them to different standards. They were saying that we hold animals to different standards, thus we don't have an issue with them behaving in ways that would be considered sociopathic if they were human.

            We don't put animals in jail for murdering other animals in the wild, for instance. They're not saying we don't treat them differently because they're murderers. They're saying that we don't consider them murderers, due to the fact that we hold them to different standards.

            9 votes
          2. [3]
            psi
            Link Parent
            No, I certainly didn't mean to imply that. I think you're making the mistake of affirming the consequent. Edit: @papasquat explained my point better.

            No, I certainly didn't mean to imply that. I think you're making the mistake of affirming the consequent.

            Edit: @papasquat explained my point better.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              InsertNameHere
              Link Parent
              Ah, I took your earlier comment to be implying that the given reason alone was sufficient to justify farming and killing of non-human animal

              Ah, I took your earlier comment to be implying that the given reason alone was sufficient to justify farming and killing of non-human animal

              3 votes
              1. psi
                Link Parent
                No worries! It seems I could've worded my comment more clearly.

                No worries! It seems I could've worded my comment more clearly.

                2 votes
      3. [4]
        Johz
        Link Parent
        For what it's worth, almost all the vegans (and vegetarians) that I know are fairly relaxed about their diet and will quite happily break it if it makes sense to, or for special occasions. (And on...

        What frustrates me about many proponents of veganism (not the author of this article, fwiw) is an all-or-nothing black-and-white approach.

        For what it's worth, almost all the vegans (and vegetarians) that I know are fairly relaxed about their diet and will quite happily break it if it makes sense to, or for special occasions. (And on the other side of things: most of the vegetarians I know, and many meat eaters, tend to use vegan alternatives where it makes sense and when they're comfortable with it.) I've never really experienced hard boundaries here - it's not like there's a vegan police running around trying to catch people drinking the wrong milk!

        I'm sure those people exist, but at this point they feel like a minority of the people who are actually vegan, and I usually only see them as part of a vegan stereotype, rather than in real life.

        Myself, I eat meat because I like it and, like you, see nothing wrong in killing animals per se. But I almost exclusively cook vegetarian (and often vegan) partly because my wife is vegetarian, and partly becauseI want to actively reduce my meat (and general animal product) consumption.

        7 votes
        1. [3]
          sparksbet
          Link Parent
          Oh yeah I absolutely agree that most vegans I know in person are absolutely lovely and non-judgmental people in general. My description was more targeted at vegans who try to get other people to...

          Oh yeah I absolutely agree that most vegans I know in person are absolutely lovely and non-judgmental people in general. My description was more targeted at vegans who try to get other people to become vegans, which I usually only encounter online and which are almost definitely are a tiny subset of vegans.

          And I'm definitely in the same boat as you regarding cooking vegetarian at home too, some of my favorite regular meals are vegetarian or vegan.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            Johz
            Link Parent
            Ah, yeah, always ignore the opinions of people online. It's like a any fan club: the most vocal people are usually the most passionate and the most hardcore. Gather a group of fans in a room, and...

            Ah, yeah, always ignore the opinions of people online. It's like a any fan club: the most vocal people are usually the most passionate and the most hardcore. Gather a group of fans in a room, and you'll hear the most extreme voices because they're the ones who want to spend all their time talking about, and the rest all want to get on with something else.

            In that regard, please don't assume that the loudest voices on the internet represent what real vegetarians and vegans think. Like I said, I'm not one myself, but I do think minimising the amount of meat and animal products we eat is important for environmental and animal welfare reasons. I'd hate it if people felt turned off from the world of meat-free food just because of a few faceless voices.

            8 votes
            1. sparksbet
              Link Parent
              Oh yeah I agree with you on all counts here.

              Oh yeah I agree with you on all counts here.

              2 votes
      4. ButteredToast
        Link Parent
        Yes, I think many could see themselves going vegetarian (which is a considerably easier change than going vegan) at some point, but by the standards of some this isn’t going far enough even though...

        Yes, I think many could see themselves going vegetarian (which is a considerably easier change than going vegan) at some point, but by the standards of some this isn’t going far enough even though it’s still a dramatic improvement. This is the sort of thing where making the perfect the enemy of the good may be doing a lot of harm.

        6 votes
      5. [16]
        nosewings
        Link Parent
        Don't we already do this for everything? We don't typically say that animals are even capable of moral wrongs. I mean, by this logic, any amount of effort put into reducing animal suffering is...

        not unless you hold humans to a standard that's utterly disconnected from the rest of the animal kingdom.

        Don't we already do this for everything? We don't typically say that animals are even capable of moral wrongs.

        I mean, by this logic, any amount of effort put into reducing animal suffering is completely unnecessary from an ethical perspective. After all, predators in the wild have absolutely no qualms eating other animals alive, so why should we bother being any different?

        3 votes
        1. [15]
          sparksbet
          Link Parent
          I think I mostly answered this in response to the other comment pointing this out, but in short it's not that I believe anything animals do is moral for humans to do, but rather that I need...

          I think I mostly answered this in response to the other comment pointing this out, but in short it's not that I believe anything animals do is moral for humans to do, but rather that I need compelling arguments for why it should be treated differently in this case, and I haven't been convinced by what I've encountered so far.

          1 vote
          1. [14]
            nosewings
            Link Parent
            I guess I'd flip that around and ask: why is murder wrong? Or, perhaps even better: why is animal cruelty wrong?

            I guess I'd flip that around and ask: why is murder wrong? Or, perhaps even better: why is animal cruelty wrong?

            3 votes
            1. [13]
              sparksbet
              Link Parent
              Animal cruelty is wrong because we can understand what suffering is and insofar as we are capable of avoiding causing it, we should unless there is a compelling reason. I would consider...

              Animal cruelty is wrong because we can understand what suffering is and insofar as we are capable of avoiding causing it, we should unless there is a compelling reason. I would consider acquisition of useful materials and food a compelling enough reason to inflict the minimal suffering necessary to take the animal's life but that inflicting additional unnecessary suffering would be wrong.

              As for killing humans, there's obviously the difference in that pretty much no one is killing humans for any useful purpose. But the ultimate difference is more that I just don't believe animals' lives are of equal value to those of humans.

              2 votes
              1. [6]
                nosewings
                Link Parent
                I disagree with this very strongly. Any kind of premeditated killing can be useful to the person doing the killing. War can certainly be useful to the aggressor. Murder is not very useful to the...

                As for killing humans, there's obviously the difference in that pretty much no one is killing humans for any useful purpose.

                I disagree with this very strongly. Any kind of premeditated killing can be useful to the person doing the killing. War can certainly be useful to the aggressor.

                Murder is not very useful to the people being killed, of course, but that's begging the question (i.e., animal slaughter is not very useful to the animals being slaughtered).

                But the ultimate difference is more that I just don't believe animals' lives are of equal value to those of humans.

                If you simply take this as an axiom, then, well, there's nothing more to say. But if you think there's some sort of rational basis for it---well, I think your basis is probably not very good.

                Lots of people base the worth of a life on intelligence. I think this is a pretty terrible basis (and it has all sorts of nasty implications for, e.g., people with mental disabilities), but even if we take it for granted: the animals we slaughter are plenty smart. Pigs in particular are known to be highly intelligent---possibly smarter than young children---and we slaughter 1.5 billion of them per year. They aren't smart as an adult human, but they're extremely smart on the grand evolutionary scale. That's a lot of intelligences extinguished to feed our appetites. How would we feel about raising human infants specifically so that we could slaughter 1.5 billion of them per year?

                I think a better metric than intelligence is the capacity to feel joy and suffering. And the situation is much worse here, I think. We can reasonably infer that mammals, at least, experience something like the emotions that we feel---joy, playfulness, sadness, pain, companionship. You can find videos all over the place demonstrating that cows make friends. You can find videos showing chimpanzees visibly astonished at magic tricks. You can find videos of crows playing in snow. Animals are not automatons, and we have no real reason to believe that they "feel" less than us. Just because we are evolutionarily programmed to read the emotions of other humans doesn't make other animals' emotions any less real.

                But even if we take it as granted that animal lives are worth less than human lives, the value you need to assign an animal life in order to make the meat industry anything less than a heinous crime is, I think, implausibly low. Again, 1.5 billion pigs per year. How many humans would be okay to slaughter for food before it became a moral evil?

                I think the only way you can get a satisfactory result here is to diminish the value of an animal life so that it is infinitesimal next to the value of a human life; i.e., no number of animal lives is worth a single human life. But besides this horn being implausible---humans are animals, after all; there's no sharp dividing line between us and them---I also think that it disagrees with most peoples' intuitions. And I have evidence: go to any video or news story of a kitten or puppy being tortured and tell me what the comments say should happen to the person who did it. People intuitively understand that animal lives have ethical value in some contexts; they just compartmentalize that understanding when it comes to what they eat.

                8 votes
                1. [5]
                  sparksbet
                  Link Parent
                  I've heard all these arguments before, and I simply don't find them sufficiently convincing. Hearing them again more or less verbatim doesn't change that. I think that arguments for veganism which...

                  I've heard all these arguments before, and I simply don't find them sufficiently convincing. Hearing them again more or less verbatim doesn't change that. I think that arguments for veganism which compare slaughtering non-human animals to slaughtering humans in extremely poor taste -- especially given that there is often a tendency in these arguments to ignore the human and environmental cost of alternatives to animal products.

                  I'm all for veganism in practice, fwiw, regardless of the person's reasons for sticking to that diet. Others are free to disagree with me on the moral calculus here. I try to decrease the amount of meat in my diet because I think the arguments for doing so that don't amount to "meat is murder" are compelling. But I'm not going to suddenly find the same arguments I've heard a million times over more compelling due to repetition.

                  4 votes
                  1. [2]
                    nosewings
                    Link Parent
                    I wish that just once, I could hear a reason why I'm wrong, rather than simply being told my arguments are not sufficiently convincing. Frankly, I feel like simply disagreeing with an argument...

                    I wish that just once, I could hear a reason why I'm wrong, rather than simply being told my arguments are not sufficiently convincing.

                    Frankly, I feel like simply disagreeing with an argument without trying to find at least an internal reason to disagree amounts to simply not taking the argument seriously.

                    I think that arguments for veganism which compare slaughtering non-human animals to slaughtering humans in extremely poor taste

                    Meh. If I'm wrong, I've merely said something in poor taste. If I'm right, well, much worse is true. That seems like a worthwhile wager to me.

                    especially given that there is often a tendency in these arguments to ignore the human and environmental cost of alternatives to animal products

                    When it comes to meat, at least, there are essentially always environmentally-preferable alternatives, simply due to the calculus of trophic levels.

                    4 votes
                    1. sparksbet
                      Link Parent
                      Why am I obligated to provide you with a reason why you're wrong when I'm not saying you're wrong? I'm not trying to convince you to abandon your belief system here and change your beliefs to...

                      Why am I obligated to provide you with a reason why you're wrong when I'm not saying you're wrong? I'm not trying to convince you to abandon your belief system here and change your beliefs to match mine. I'm not writing a philosophical treatise on why my way is the right way here. I'm just saying that the arguments you're making don't convince me to change my beliefs to match yours. What reason is there from my perspective to try and argue you out of beliefs I don't think are harmful and that I respect you for having just because I haven't been convinced to agree with you?

                      8 votes
                  2. [2]
                    chargrilled_broccoli
                    Link Parent
                    It's not a diet. At least, not just a diet.

                    veganism in practice, fwiw, regardless of the person's reasons for sticking to that diet

                    It's not a diet. At least, not just a diet.

                    1 vote
                    1. sparksbet
                      Link Parent
                      I'm aware this is the case for some vegans, but I'd hesitate to extend that to the entire category, given that there is diversity of opinion on certain aspects of veganism. There are absolutely...

                      I'm aware this is the case for some vegans, but I'd hesitate to extend that to the entire category, given that there is diversity of opinion on certain aspects of veganism. There are absolutely people who eat vegan diets but don't otherwise police their lifestyles much.

                      In any case though, my sentiment doesn't change if you replace "diet" with a word you consider more suitable, like "lifestyle" or something.

                      5 votes
              2. [6]
                GenuinelyCrooked
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I'm confused at how believing animal cruelty is wrong doesn't lead to almost-veganism, even if you don't believe that killing animals is inherently wrong. Unless you get all of your meat from...

                I'm confused at how believing animal cruelty is wrong doesn't lead to almost-veganism, even if you don't believe that killing animals is inherently wrong. Unless you get all of your meat from hunting and your dairy and eggs from cute little farms where the animals are treated well, which is extremely unlikely, you're supporting animal cruelty. So, from what I can see, the disconnect isn't that you don't believe that killing animals is wrong, it's that you don't believe it's wrong to encourage behavior that you do consider wrong if there are enough levels of abstraction involved.

                Please don't take this as an attack. I'm a supporter of even small reductions in the consumption of animal products, and I eat eggs and dairy myself. I simply don't understand the moral calculus of (animal agriculture is cruel) +(animal cruelty is wrong) - (killing animals for food is wrong) = (eating cruelly farmed animals is not wrong). It seems like whether or not you consider killing animals for food to be moral or not is irrelevant. I don't consider it immoral, I have no problem with sustainable hunting practices, but I don't eat meat because I don't want to hunt and factory farming is not ethical or sustainable.

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  sparksbet
                  Link Parent
                  Oh no I absolutely agree with you on the moral calculus here -- I agree that supporting current animal agriculture practices is supporting animal cruelty, and I find that argument for veganism...

                  Oh no I absolutely agree with you on the moral calculus here -- I agree that supporting current animal agriculture practices is supporting animal cruelty, and I find that argument for veganism ethically compelling. I think this (as well as some of the environmental arguments) is a good argument for being vegan. I try to reduce my meat consumption because I find those arguments convincing, but I don't have the personal strength of will to go fully vegan or vegetarian. I'm not trying to frame myself as taking the most morally justified position by continuing to eat some meat.

                  The discussion in other comments here about whether killing animals for food is wrong is purely about the moral calculus of that even in a perfect world, because I haven't found arguments strictly for that convincing on a moral/philosophical level. I absolutely believe that the current state of animal agriculture is wrong, and I don't think that eating animal products sourced from said agriculture is morally blameless. I just think that, on a practical level, there are a lot of people like me who just aren't willing or able to make that sacrifice to their personal lives, and that as a result encouraging meat reduction and advocating for heavy legislation of animal agriculture are more likely to be effective at reducing or eliminating the problem there.

                  3 votes
                  1. GenuinelyCrooked
                    Link Parent
                    Ah, that makes sense. I'm basically ending up in the same place, just a little further down the line, by continuing to eat eggs and dairy. I know that I am doing something wrong, but it's the...

                    Ah, that makes sense. I'm basically ending up in the same place, just a little further down the line, by continuing to eat eggs and dairy. I know that I am doing something wrong, but it's the least wrong that I feel capable of at this time, and I try not to do it when that option feels available to me.

                    3 votes
                2. [3]
                  boxer_dogs_dance
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  We (in my family) in fact do buy our meat in bulk from small farms and private butchers, not supermarkets who rely on factory farms and slaughterhouses

                  We (in my family) in fact do buy our meat in bulk from small farms and private butchers, not supermarkets who rely on factory farms and slaughterhouses

                  1. [2]
                    GenuinelyCrooked
                    Link Parent
                    Do you know sparksbet in person, or are you referring to a different "we"? I'm afraid I don't understand.

                    Do you know sparksbet in person, or are you referring to a different "we"? I'm afraid I don't understand.

                    1. boxer_dogs_dance
                      Link Parent
                      Sorry not op, just chiming in with a different form of harm reduction.

                      Sorry not op, just chiming in with a different form of harm reduction.

                      2 votes
      6. [4]
        PepperJackson
        Link Parent
        I'm also interested in your quote here. I doubt I bring up anything new or profound but I did want to add a comment. I think extending the thought experiment a little bit clarified this for me....

        I'm also interested in your quote here. I doubt I bring up anything new or profound but I did want to add a comment.

        But I also simply am not convinced that it's inherently morally wrong to kill animals for the purpose of eating their meat or using their animal products -- not unless you hold humans to a standard that's utterly disconnected from the rest of the animal kingdom.

        I think extending the thought experiment a little bit clarified this for me. (For the record I do occasionally eat meat, but I haven't bought meat to prepare at my home in many years.) Imagine an animal that eats meat. I'm going to pick a wolf. In the animal world, I think it's totally sensible and justifiable for wolves to eat meat. But imagine a group of wolves that had the capability to produce all of their food by planting crops, and that this diet did not have any negative effects on their health. If I observed these wolves going out and killing animals to eat, at the very least I would think "that's not very nice of them". If you add another layer to these wolves where they now think killing is wrong, it's hard to me to see them killing animals for food as not cruel, to some extent. If I asked them "Why do you do this is it is not necessary?", and they said something like "It tastes good." I would probably give them the side eye.

        In the end, I guess I mean to say that I don't think it's inherently wrong to eat meat unless the following are true:

        1. You are capable of getting all of your nutrition from plants.
        2. The plant based food is accessible.
        3. You think killing is wrong.

        Of course, nothing is this cut and dry. I will eat chicken if I go out to a restaurant. I'm the wolf who has the complete ability to fulfill all of my dietary needs with plants and still elects to eat meat every so often because it tastes good.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          sparksbet
          Link Parent
          I think the way you lay it out is sensible, but I think my hangup is that I don't think "killing is wrong" necessarily has to be equally true in all cases and that's not really accounted for in...

          I think the way you lay it out is sensible, but I think my hangup is that I don't think "killing is wrong" necessarily has to be equally true in all cases and that's not really accounted for in this thought experiment. Heck, even killing a fellow human might not be ethically wrong in all circumstances and certainly the degree of intuitive "wrongness" varies. Since it's impossible to live without killing anything, everyone draws the line somewhere. I get the reasons why some people draw the line in a place that entails killing animals is inherently wrong, but I personally am not convinced to draw the line there myself.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            PepperJackson
            Link Parent
            Totally. I think it breaks down there myself, otherwise I wouldn't be eating meat at all. I lay out ant/cockroach traps in my house, so clearly I don't think all killing is wrong, and I agree...

            Totally. I think it breaks down there myself, otherwise I wouldn't be eating meat at all. I lay out ant/cockroach traps in my house, so clearly I don't think all killing is wrong, and I agree about the rare edge cases with people too.

            I think eating animals has become acceptable to me because someone else is doing the slaughtering and I've been raised in a world where it's so prevalent. I tried to make the case in such a way where I didn't say that the plant growing wolves were evil for hunting, but their actions would be enough to give me pause. And essentially, that is the effect eating animals has on my life, where I think for a minute before buying chicken, but I don't patronize people for eating meat.

            1 vote
            1. sparksbet
              Link Parent
              Yeah that totally makes sense. I probably wouldn't have the stomach to slaughter my own meat tbqh, but there are tons of things I find gross to do that aren't immoral so I don't want to rely on...

              Yeah that totally makes sense. I probably wouldn't have the stomach to slaughter my own meat tbqh, but there are tons of things I find gross to do that aren't immoral so I don't want to rely on that. I think we're likely in a very similar place about this philosophically.

              2 votes
    2. [6]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      I also detest factory farming, and I think most people in the west have far too much meat in their diet. That level of meat consumption is only economically viable because it's encouraged by a...

      I also detest factory farming, and I think most people in the west have far too much meat in their diet. That level of meat consumption is only economically viable because it's encouraged by a ridiculously efficient factory farming system that's been directly and indirectly subsidized by taxpayers by ignoring animal suffering, negative climate externalities, land usage, and dozens of other considerations. Strong protection for animal welfare and an end to those subsidies so that meat costs what it truly costs most of us would make it probibative for most people to eat multiple times a day like it is now.

      My biggest reason for not swearing off meat entirely is considering the alternatives for animals. Being a wild animal is defined by suffering.
      If a human being had to live the life of the average rabbit or fox, they'd develop severe mental issues very quickly. Their lives are always on edge, always afraid and on the lookout for being someone's next meal, or starving to death. Their deaths almost universally come via starvation or being violently ripped to shreds while still conscious. The methods of killing even in most factory farms are humane in comparison.

      Far from being the idyllic, peaceful sanctuary that many people think of when they think of the wild, in actuality, nature is a constant state of fear, desperation, warfare and violence.

      In comparison, a pig that spends its life on a small farm, enjoying scraps, being around others or it's kind, and finally meeting a swift, humane end is paradise in comparison to its wild counterparts.

      There's not much humanity can do to end the suffering that animals experience in the wild. I'm not sure if there's much we should do even if we could either. Therefore, if some land is used for human, small scale meat farming instead of being allowed to support more wild animals, we're not actually increasing any sort of suffering present in the animal world.

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        RoyalHenOil
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        How far do you take this opinion? A parking lot contains less suffering than a pig farm, so bulldozing wilderness to build parking lots results in a net drop in suffering. Are you generally in...
        • Exemplary

        Therefore, if some land is used for human, small scale meat farming instead of being allowed to support more wild animals, we're not actually increasing any sort of suffering present in the animal world.

        How far do you take this opinion? A parking lot contains less suffering than a pig farm, so bulldozing wilderness to build parking lots results in a net drop in suffering. Are you generally in favor of destroying as much nature as we can in order to eliminate suffering in wild animals?

        I think it is short-sighted to look at suffering alone. The life of a wild animal is brutal and short, and yet it appears that they enjoy living and make choices to prolong their lives. Captive wild animals try to escape, despite the certainty of food and shelter, and when they are kept in conditions that least resemble wild living, they tend to become listless or even commit self-harm (like birds plucking out their feathers). The zoos with the happiest, healthiest animals tend to be those that add wild-like stress (e.g., hiding food for the animals to forage rather than just giving it to them, challenging and potentially dangerous equipment for the animals to climb, etc.). On the whole, it seems that wild animals prefer the wild lifestyle, even though it comes at high cost; perhaps they even enjoy the high cost to a certain extent — the thrill of overcoming adversity.

        This makes a lot of sense to me. They evolved for the niches they live in, and evolution selects strongly for individuals who find pleasure and satisfaction in activities that promote health, survival, and reproduction.

        Imagine if some asexual alien species came to Earth, observed human reproductive behavior, and decided that it promotes too much suffering (all that vaginal tearing, penile bruising, side effects of pregnancy, STDs, yeast infections, jealousy, sexual incompatibility, etc., etc., etc.) and therefore prevented all humans from ever having sex again. I think most people would say that this is taking away a meaningful part of our humanity. Yes, sex is messy and dangerous, but it's also enjoyable and deeply important to us — so much so that most humans strongly prefer to have a rich sex life, with all the mess and danger, over clean, safe, lifelong celibacy. The aliens can see all the things that are bad about sex, but how can they understand what is good about it when they themselves did not evolve to desire it?

        I think we should be very wary of doing this to animals. We see a rabbit's life and think that looks awful — but we are not rabbits. We did not evolve for either the dangers or the pleasures that rabbits did. A human is ill-suited to rabbit life and would find it miserable, but that does not make it so for the rabbit.

        I think we tend to over-predict trauma and suffering in wild animals in part because humans experience so much of it ourselves. But, to be honest, I think that is because humans are not living in the conditions that we evolved for, and we have become so accustomed to human misery that we think it's normal. But trauma, depression, anxiety, existential crises, isolation, etc., do not confer evolutionary fitness. That they are so common strongly suggests to me that we are not well adapted to the mental stressors of our environment.

        11 votes
        1. vczf
          Link Parent
          To add to this perspective, non-human animals seem to live almost entirely immersed in the present moment. That alone likely reduces their share of suffering to a very tolerable amount, when in...

          To add to this perspective, non-human animals seem to live almost entirely immersed in the present moment. That alone likely reduces their share of suffering to a very tolerable amount, when in their native environment. They can enjoy living when the living is good, even if punctuated by moments of panic and fear.

          6 votes
        2. [2]
          papasquat
          Link Parent
          Well, I'm not speaking of wild animals in captivity, I'm primarily speaking about domesticated animals raised for meat. I also don't mean to speak in defense of the factory farming industry,...

          Well, I'm not speaking of wild animals in captivity, I'm primarily speaking about domesticated animals raised for meat. I also don't mean to speak in defense of the factory farming industry, because I don't think there are many defenses that can be made for it.

          I'm just speaking about the act of killing another animal for food.

          It's of course impossible to know the actual, subjective experience of an animal. Is a rabbit actually constantly and suffering every moment of it's life, or does it get some sort of enjoyable thrill from running away from a wolf? Who knows. All we know is subjective human experience as applied to stress, and most people find stress uncomfortable or painful, and we know the rabbit is stressed from brain scans and chemical analysis and such.

          We can fairly definitely say that a domesticated animals that are well cared for and given plenty of space live a generally less stressful life than most prey animals in the wild, but we don't know if that means their lives are happier or not, all we can do is try to apply human emotion to those situations.

          I also don't mean to say that we should raze all of nature. Morality and what we ought to do is too complex to reduce to simple utilitarian arithmetic, and I think there's value in life existing for life's sake.

          What I mean to say that is that the vegan argument made in a vaccum that the sole fact that a human hand does not directly cause the death of an animal does not necessarily mean that animal suffering is reduced. All actions have a moral weight, including inaction. So it wouldn't make sense to morally consider killing an animal for meat without considering the alternative.

          2 votes
          1. RoyalHenOil
            Link Parent
            I just want to add something about stress and humans: Stress is not inevitably bad. I think there is a level of stress that we enjoy and that is healthy for us. This is probably stress that mimics...

            I just want to add something about stress and humans: Stress is not inevitably bad. I think there is a level of stress that we enjoy and that is healthy for us. This is probably stress that mimics common experiences that humans evolved with.

            As an anecdote, I enjoy playing video games. I particularly like video games that have periods of low stress (like base building) interspersed with periods of high stress (like leaving my base to explore dangerous territory). I find games with constant levels of stress, whether that stress is low or high, to fall somewhere on the spectrum between boring and fatiguing, and I lose interest in them.

            From an outside perspective, these moments of stress probably look like they cause suffering. Notably, whenever my partner or I play video games with boss fights, we have to put our dogs in a different room, because otherwise they come bother during boss fights: they lay their heads in our laps, paw at us, lick us, and whimper at us. It seems that they identify our stress and are trying to comfort us. They can't understand that the stress is desired and that we have actively sought it out, for no purpose at all except to have fun (even though it doesn't look like we're having fun).

            We see this in other aspects of life as well: People like stories about conflict, not stories without tension. People like roller coasters, horror movies, competitions, fast driving, spicy food, challenging art projects, internet arguments, and hundreds of other stress-inducing activities. And it's not just our brains that need stress: We are healthier when we induce micro tears in our muscles and micro fractures in our bones (aka exercise), and we develop allergies and auto-immune disorders when our immune systems don't get enough legitimate pathogens to fight.

            It seems clear to me that our brains and bodies are calibrated for a certain degree of certain kinds of stress. We suffer when our stress levels are abnormally high and when they are abnormally low, as well as when they are abnormally constant.

            6 votes
      2. Baeocystin
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'm of the same opinion. I think something that some vegans/vegetarians miss with their argument that being raised for meat is wrong is that it isn't a choice between farm or freedom; it's a...

        I'm of the same opinion. I think something that some vegans/vegetarians miss with their argument that being raised for meat is wrong is that it isn't a choice between farm or freedom; it's a choice between existing at all or not.

        And I think a life where an animal is raised in a humane manner, and meets a swift, as-painless-as-possible end is, frankly, better than most of us get. Are we there yet for the vast majority of animal husbandry as it exists today? Not at all, and that's where I think real improvements can be made. But I also think of the chickens we had as a kid, hanging out with us in the garden, getting excited when they see a snail on the tomatoes... A few years of egg-laying, followed by a quick chop when the time comes? A better life than their wild ancestors, and one worth living.

        5 votes
    3. [4]
      mrnd
      Link Parent
      There has been great discussion already under your comment, but I'd like to directly reply to two points in this. I really hope this doesn't come across as too aggressive. It's just that I have...

      There has been great discussion already under your comment, but I'd like to directly reply to two points in this. I really hope this doesn't come across as too aggressive. It's just that I have thought very similar things, and I hope this is helpful.

      And I don't like our current animal agriculture. I also, no matter how much I poke at it, don't think that eating meat or animal products themselves are wrong.

      That sounds entirely reasonable! I can understand the argument that eating other animals is something humans have naturally done, and should not be absolutely objectionable. However, I think the more important question is this: If you agree that the currently existing animal farming practices are not ideal (even horribble), can you actually personally justify supporting those practices?

      And also, I don't have the energy to do more lifestyle change. I'm hanging on by my fingernails and already feel I'm not caring enough about Gaza, about poverty, about everything I do feel really strongly about.

      This is generally one of the hardest parts about trying to be a good person in this age. But going vegan has one big advantage: it's immediately effective. The big problems, wars and powerty and inequality, are really hard to fix. Sure, you can attend protests and organize politically, which is great. But even if you have the energy to actually do that, the effects are going to be really slow and hard to perceive. And only caring and worrying about them does even less.

      But you need to eat anyway, and changing what you eat has actual, concrete moral consequences. It's something that is actually possible to do, with lesser personal cost than you probably think.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        DefinitelyNotAFae
        Link Parent
        Ultimately I don't agree with many many things, and I end up directly or indirectly supporting them due to the nature of our current society. When I say I don't have the energy for major change, I...

        Ultimately I don't agree with many many things, and I end up directly or indirectly supporting them due to the nature of our current society.

        When I say I don't have the energy for major change, I mean that, even with a dietary change. I already try to cook more things but I have a disabled partner who will cook for me but eat Lima beans from a can for himself, and I'm working full time and being a caretaker at home. I often can't afford more processed, pre-made vegan stuff where I can usually manage processed pre-made non-vegan meals, and I don't have the energy to cook very often as it is and learning new cooking things is doable but stressful and expensive when I have to buy a bunch of new stuff. Then I pay the ADHD tax as things go bad or unused. Maybe after my move? Maybe not. I try to shop at farmers markets when I can now that they're open for the year.

        I don't love using factory farmed foods, but in the scheme of my complicity with evil, I think it's lower than human slave labor, than not protesting children in cages, than being active to stop the encroachment of anti-trans and anti-autonomy rhetoric. I try to do good stuff, add a few more meatless meals and while I can't eat beans straight from a can I'll buy my partner whatever he wants, the weirdo. I'm rather sure in the future us eating meat will be reviled, but I don't feel that way so it is what it is.

        IDK if that's the answer you expected and I'm sorry it's not the answer you'd probably like, but I had a fully unrelated to this breakdown last night just from being overwhelmed and carrying the weight of the household, work and the world on my shoulders. Beef is not even on the list at the moment.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          mrnd
          Link Parent
          If you can't, then you can't. You don't need to justify yourself :) My point really was just that this is an option to do something really concrete, when most of our angst about the world is...

          If you can't, then you can't. You don't need to justify yourself :)

          My point really was just that this is an option to do something really concrete, when most of our angst about the world is fairly unactionable. You know better than me if it's possible for you.

          4 votes
          1. DefinitelyNotAFae
            Link Parent
            I get that, like I said, I feel like I should feel differently about it but I don't. But right now it feels as impossible as anything else.

            I get that, like I said, I feel like I should feel differently about it but I don't.

            But right now it feels as impossible as anything else.

            1 vote
  3. elight
    (edited )
    Link
    Vegan for about a decade now. I am unsurprised that this topic has generated so many emotional responses. It is painful to be asked to reflect on the harm we cause by being. I've caused this same...
    • Exemplary

    Vegan for about a decade now. I am unsurprised that this topic has generated so many emotional responses. It is painful to be asked to reflect on the harm we cause by being. I've caused this same harm too, for many years.

    As a child, I've always had pets. From birth, I was raised with cats. I literally had one next to me in the crib.

    I loved going to petting zoos. All of the animals there had their unique behaviors and redeeming qualities.

    Yet, as a child, I was raised in a family that eats meat even now. Yet, as a child, I always had this thought slinking in the back of my mind: I don't eat my pets—and what separates my pets from the other animals I see?

    This bothered me for a few years. And then I forgot about it.

    At about 40, I find my blood pressure is high. I read Joel Fuhrman MD's "Eat to Live": that is an extreme book but eye opening. I thought that, ok, I'll go plant-based. I'll cut out processed foods.

    In the US, that's playing on hard mode. Doing it in the backwater I lived in at the time, iron man.

    After a year, my then-primary doctor was astonished to see how healthy the blood of this severely overweight me came out in lab results. Even now, many years later, and still quite overweight, my doctor, well over ten years younger than me, looks at my blood test results and tells me, "Even my blood doesn't look this good!"

    But I digress.

    After a couple of years of being plant-based, I remember how I thought about animals, as a child. That's when I realized that I was now "vegan". I could no longer passively choose harm of other beings, animals or humans.

    Why consider not eating animals? At our basest, we are animals ourselves, yes.

    However, wasn't it Descartes who said cogito, ergo sum? We think. We, questionably, have free will. We are conscious. We have evolved.

    Yet we still eat like other animals—with the sole exceptions that we learned to process food to facilitate digestion. One can argue that we are not so special. We are not even the only tool-using species.

    For being so evolved, we still do violence onto one another: there is war and greed. We still mostly fixate on procreation, even in the face of ecological collapse.

    But there is another choice available: to attempt to exceed our animal nature. Given the abundance of vegetation in nature, that we have also learned to cultivate, and how we have learned to improve and enhance these qualities demonstrably through our own learnings, it is possible to eat well and do so without taking the lives of other conscious beings.

    Is it realistic to do this when we still harm each other? One could also ask: if we stopped harming animals, would we free up enough resource to be able to feed more people of this world?

    If we are better than other animals, why must we continue to eat other animals?

    If we are no better, how are we civilized? Why then do we deserve civilization?

    17 votes
  4. [6]
    Landhund
    Link
    Let's take a step onto this here landmine and see what happens, shall we. I really wish I had the time left today to go as deep into dissecting this article as I would like to, but unfortunately...

    Let's take a step onto this here landmine and see what happens, shall we.

    I really wish I had the time left today to go as deep into dissecting this article as I would like to, but unfortunately I'm pressed for time right now, so the abridged version has to suffice.

    My warning bells went of rather quickly while reading the article, without me being quite sure what caused it.
    But by the time I got to the part about "flipping the script on assumptions about plant-based life", I was able to give my suspicions a name: This article reads way to much like a recruitment speech for a religion/cult for me to ever take it seriously.
    And rightfully so, as the rest of the article showed.

    Just have a look at the following excerpts:

    • "My world has never felt so full of joy and purpose."
    • "It's my ethical North Star - the spiritual anchor that makes everything else make sense."
    • "My mom is still ambivalent about veganism, but she admires how important it is to me and often says she wants to try it."
    • "We can look to these traditions to build a more sustainable future."
    • "Veganism isn't just a diet or a way to lower carbon emissions. It's a philosophy of nonviolence toward nonhuman animals."
    • "Not everyone will experience this same emotional transformation, but I've come to see joy and grief as two inextricable sides of the same coin."
    • And last but most certainly not least, this one that could come almost one-to-one out of a speech of "How to Retain Your Cults Followers": "We share vegan foods and an unspoken understanding of how hard it is to go through life carrying such a heavy burden. What else can we do in this unjust world if not help each other live according to our values? We talk about how broken our planet is and about our hope for leaving it a little bit better."

    Then there is also this gem:

    [...] I don't want to sound judgmental or sanctimonious.

    Bull. Shit.
    This entire thing is filled to the brim with guilt-inducing judgement and sanctimony.

    I'll stop here because if I continue I'll probably start getting personal.

    Non of the personal benefits the author lists are in any way dependent on a vegan diet. You can expand your diet to foreign cuisines and mix/include a variety of different or new fruits/vegetables without turning it into a religion.

    If you want to make me consider a vegan diet, don't make me feel like I'm recruited by a cult.

    15 votes
    1. Akir
      Link Parent
      It's a personal story. There are zero calls to action.

      It's a personal story. There are zero calls to action.

      25 votes
    2. [4]
      elight
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I'll trade you a landmine for a landmine. Leaving aside the other arguments, regarding guilt, I ask this sincerely: How does one not feel guilt at taking life when there was the easily available...

      I'll trade you a landmine for a landmine.

      Leaving aside the other arguments, regarding guilt, I ask this sincerely:

      How does one not feel guilt at taking life when there was the easily available choice not to?

      How attached are you to your own consciousness?

      How much resentment and anguish would you experience at the prospect of losing it all?

      Factory farming all too easily hides us from the repercussions of these choices.

      12 votes
      1. [3]
        Landhund
        Link Parent
        The same way I do not feel guilt at killing billions of bacteria when disinfecting my hands, or squashing a moscito for trying to give me a mildly annoying sting: I value my enjoyment of eating...

        How does one not feel guilt at taking life when there was the easily available choice not to?

        The same way I do not feel guilt at killing billions of bacteria when disinfecting my hands, or squashing a moscito for trying to give me a mildly annoying sting: I value my enjoyment of eating animal products (be it dairy, eggs, honey, or meat) higher than I value the animals life. That doesn't mean I don't try to minimise animal suffering as much as I can. It's just that ultimately my desires trump theirs. It is as simple as that.

        How attached are you to your own consciousness?

        Considering that for all intends and purposes I am my consciousness, I am as attached to it as I am to my own life, which is to say very tightly.

        How much resentment and anguish would you experience at the prospect of losing it all?

        Sort of depends on the exaxt prospect in question. In general, I do not feel any resentment or anguish at the general idea of eventually dying, I've made my peace with that a long time ago. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I want to die, there's still a lot I want to do, but in general I don't fear death in the abstract. I do however have a general unease about the prospect of dying, as in being aware it's either happening or about to happen, but I suspect that's just my hardwired survival instinct doing what's it supposed to do.

        Factory farming all too easily hides us from the repercussions of these choices.

        Let's ignore the fact that factory farming wasn't a topic in my reply. A long time ago there was a post on Reddit asking how one would find a theoretical proposal that everyone had to kill and butcher an animal themselves if they wished to eat their meat. Would they then still want to eat meat?
        My simple answer: yes, hand me the knife, I'll do it myself if you want to. I already catch, kill and gut fish on a irregular basis in order to eat them. And I do so as quickly as possible in order to minimise the fishs suffering (Also the reason I'm against catch-and-release, btw. If you intentionally hurt a fish, it better be in order to eat it).
        It might be economically impractical for me to kill every cow, pig or chicken I wish to eat, but I have no qualms about doing it myself if I had to.


        By the way, now that I have answered your questions honestly and in good faith: this was another good example of guilt tripping that I really dislike about certain vegans.
        Swapping animals and humans in these types of arguments doesn't work on me because this tactic is meant to reveal a (presumably hidden) double standard. But there is nothing to reveal here. I'm well aware that I hold humans and (non-human) animals in separate moral categories. The same way we hold plants or bacteria in different categories. The main difference is where we draw the line about what we consider more important than our own desires.

        16 votes
        1. [2]
          elight
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          And, in good faith, If you find yourself feeling any guilt at all, which seems ever so slightly implied by your need to defend, perhaps you should reconsider. You came into this post, with your...

          And, in good faith, If you find yourself feeling any guilt at all, which seems ever so slightly implied by your need to defend, perhaps you should reconsider.


          You came into this post, with your first comment, unfairly accusing and blaming OP of poor intent.

          You've since, from me, received the response that you seem to have invited.

          Did you expect a different outcome?

          Did you not remark, initially, that if you continued further that you would get personal? Is that on me or OP?

          3 votes
          1. Landhund
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I am my own moral authority. My morals are not subservient to anyone or anything but me. I may take inspiration from different people or philosophies, but ultimately I get to decide for myself...

            I am my own moral authority. My morals are not subservient to anyone or anything but me.
            I may take inspiration from different people or philosophies, but ultimately I get to decide for myself what is and isn't moral to me.

            The only guilt I feel when fishing is when something happens akin to the one time when catching trout where my triple-hook got caught not only in a trout's jaw but unfortunately also in its eye, clearly causing it a lot of pain and stopping it almost completely from struggling.
            I felt bad for it, because that amount of suffering was unnecessary to my ultimate goal of eating a trout.
            That's what I mean by trying to minimize suffering. My ultimate goal is to eat the meat of an animal (for an affordable price) because I like how it tastes, not that it suffers. Its suffering is an unfortunate side effect. And yes, if I where to decide to never eat meat again, I personally would not cause that suffering, as inadvertent as it may be.

            But my goal is not minimize animal suffering. It's to have a trout for dinner.
            That is what you need to understand: we have fundamentally different priorities when it comes to the life and suffering of animals. I do not feel the need to create some sort of moral high ground for my decision of placing my desire for a baked trout for dinner above its desire to keep swimming in its stream.

            I do emphasize with its pain, its struggle to get away from the hook. I may not know how much exactly it understands about what is happening or how exactly it feels fear, but it is obvious that it is in distress.

            But ultimately it comes down to this: I don't care. At least not to the extent that it stops me from doing it.

            To you (I presume), this few view might be morally reprehensible. To me, it is not.


            It's as though they cannot abide that others may value the lives that they take with such ease.

            You are perfectly free to put such a high value on animal lives. What I don't abide is someone lecturing me on how they find my decision to not do the same morally reprehensible.

            They themselves are not eager to die a fearful painful death but allow others to do same.

            Like I already said, this tactic won't work on me. I am perfectly fine holding animals and humans in separate moral categories.

            7 votes
  5. [3]
    Thomas-C
    Link
    Eh, I'm a vegan too but I don't think I wrap up nearly as much of myself in the choice. It's a diet, it's just food. If you got a problem with how we get meat, it's an option, among others. Lots...

    Eh, I'm a vegan too but I don't think I wrap up nearly as much of myself in the choice. It's a diet, it's just food. If you got a problem with how we get meat, it's an option, among others. Lots of info these days on how to make all sorts of things, and folks like me are out there to give you a recipe or two if you want one. You can go into it as a big philosophical position/lifestyle if you like, but I'll be real with you a whole lot of those folks are exhausting to hang out with in my (limited) experience, and you're never gonna get to talk about much else with them.

    If you want a steak I'll cook you a steak, because I'd rather we have a frictionless dining experience together. You're free to try what I'm having and see what you think. If you want to know why I always have rice and beans I'll tell you about it. You set the pace, in other words - that's me trying to extend a form of mutual respect for the fact the choices I made might not be important to you.

    That's how I look at it. I keep up and maintain meat-based recipes for folks who eat it, because they've done me the kindness of trying to make me vegan food. Over time they've tried some of those and ended up working them into what they cook at home. Those meals are all little victories, so to speak, if you wanna look at it like that. I don't, because I'm not interested in winning, and at scale I think the primary problem is one of excess, not the act of consumption in and of itself. Even making that distinction is something I won't do if you're not asking about it. It's more important, in my view, to be demonstrating mutual respect, because that is the foundation upon which mutual understanding rests, and my responsibility in it is to understand not every moment will evolve into a meaningful change. Me going on about how great and wonderful my life has been since making a choice is just asking for you to think I'm saying I'm better than you, so I'm going to sidestep that shit and just offer you a taste of this meatless fajita. You can have the recipe if you like it.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I more or less agree with this. I avoid calling myself vegan because I was extremely disturbed at how bad the militant vegans can be. One time I went to Reddit's r/vegan subreddit and the top post...

      I more or less agree with this. I avoid calling myself vegan because I was extremely disturbed at how bad the militant vegans can be. One time I went to Reddit's r/vegan subreddit and the top post was an image that said that anyone who ate honey was responsible for bee rape.

      I didn't make the change for animal welfare to begin with; I did it for my health. I really didn't care about animal welfare at all before I made the change. But now in retrospect I see how unnecessary meat is, so I feel ashamed that I was blind to how bad CAFOs and other factory farm practices are. As a meat-eater, I could justify them as being necessary to keep the price of meat down so that people don't starve. That perspective was naive at best.

      I probably wouldn't cook meat for someone else at this point, though it's not so much because I object to them eating it as much as I have gotten to the point where I find it kind of gross. Touching it is unpleasant and I don't think I would be able to make it taste good for them. I would have to use some kind of pre-prepped meat and make them something on the level of a sandwich. But then again, it's a bit of a moot point because I don't really entertain at home.

      In my experience it is useless to ask people to change just about any aspect of their life. Remember when people were up in arms thinking that it would be illegal to install gas stoves in new houses? If we can't get people to change something that inconsequential, why on earth would we expect them to change something as dramatic as the food they eat everyday?

      7 votes
      1. Thomas-C
        Link Parent
        The extent to which folks try to liken the behaviors to other traumatic things really bothers me, because it comes off bereft of empathy. I can't make people be different but I can control myself,...

        The extent to which folks try to liken the behaviors to other traumatic things really bothers me, because it comes off bereft of empathy. I can't make people be different but I can control myself, and I will not risk having someone relive a trauma for the sake of understanding something like "animal products are sometimes/often produced unethically". I can get that point across without having to go in that direction at all. If it's the only way then I quit. I'd rather eat my beans in silence than do that to people. My own choice was driven by simple ethics - I saw a video of things I don't want to write about, and changed my mind after I processed that. I would never show those videos to anyone who wasn't asking to see them, because of how traumatizing and awful they were.

        It is a hypocrisy every time I cook the steak, deep down, inwardly, because I remember those videos. I know that in buying the meat I've contributed in some small way to the very problem I'd like to see resolved. That hypocrisy has no bearing on anything, or put a different way, if I want to degrade my own moral character for the sake of something that's something I'm free to do and this time seems worth it. Sure, the cow didn't have a choice, but my adhering to principle doesn't save any cows. It's delusional for me to think otherwise - no one is paying attention to me in that way. My decisions are not a factor in determining meat production in any way whatsoever. Not now, not tomorrow, likely not the day after either. If that changed, I can think of many things I would do. But it won't, far as I can tell, so I'm stuck with what's in front of me, and that's my friend asking me if I'll make dinner tonight. It's my grandmother asking for a corn dog. I'm not going to spend my time trying to convince her out of the corn dog. She's quite stubborn. I'm going to make the corn dog and for myself I'll make something else, and if she asks to try it I will share it with her. Through that, she too has become a mostly meatless person. Can anyone unironically using the words "bee rape" claim any such progress, with anyone? I'll hear it out if they can, but so far I haven't gotten many success stories from folks who go that hard on it.

        Anyway, point being, given things will be a certain way for a time, what I think I can do is take those things and reorient them. I'll cook the steak so my friend sees I care about him. If he knows that I care about him, he's gonna reflect that some way or other if he's not just a total asshole, at some point. Perhaps that takes the shape of asking me for a bowl of (those fire, amazing, delicious) beans he tried last time. The food will communicate far better and far more than whatever words I've strung together. If that never happens it doesn't matter. There are others for whom the beans can be fire.

        4 votes
  6. [3]
    InsertNameHere
    Link
    Highly recommend reading this article in full before commenting

    Highly recommend reading this article in full before commenting

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      elight
      Link Parent
      Thank you for sharing this, OP. ❤️

      Thank you for sharing this, OP. ❤️

      4 votes
      1. InsertNameHere
        Link Parent
        Glad to hear that other people found liked this story / found that it resonated well with them!

        Glad to hear that other people found liked this story / found that it resonated well with them!

        4 votes
  7. [2]
    devilized
    Link
    This article brings up an interesting point that I've learned about vegetarianism. There are certain cuisines that just do it better than others, and unless you're open or exposed to those...

    This article brings up an interesting point that I've learned about vegetarianism. There are certain cuisines that just do it better than others, and unless you're open or exposed to those cuisines, I can see where vegetarianism is a turn-off if you're used to a typical American diet of meat-centric dishes (burgers, BBQ, grilled chicken, etc). But many cuisines like Indian, African and Thai natively make meat more of a component of the dish as opposed to the star of it. The author mentioned an Indian chickpea curry dish (probably something like Chana Masala). It's delicious - bright, spicy and flavorful.

    I can absolutely get behind eating stuff like that. But one thing I've realized is that I enjoy a very wide variety of cuisine. I eat less meat now than I did 10 years ago as I've traveled the world and been exposed to new cuisines that are less meat-centric. But one thing that I've realized is that I hate foods that try to imitate other foods, and that seems to be a lot of vegetarian cuisine that gets discussed. I won't use Impossible/Beyond products - they're overly processed, and if I'm going to eat something that resembles meat, I'd rather just eat the meat. So for me, when it comes to cuisines where meat is the star (burgers, grilled chicken, BBQ, etc) I'll continue to eat meat. But I still do love vegetarian dishes in cuisines where the food is still pure and flavorful as opposed to being overly processed in an attempt to be something it's not.

    9 votes
    1. sparksbet
      Link Parent
      One interesting thing is that it can be difficult to eat vegetarian even in countries where the cuisine isn't as dominated by meat. When I studied abroad in China, one of my classmates really...

      One interesting thing is that it can be difficult to eat vegetarian even in countries where the cuisine isn't as dominated by meat. When I studied abroad in China, one of my classmates really struggled because it was actually pretty hard to find vegetarian food, despite the fact that the cuisine is less meat-centric, because even otherwise plant-based dishes would often contain lard or beef broth or something similar for flavor.

      4 votes
  8. BeanBurrito
    (edited )
    Link
    I went vegetarian at 14. I took a year off in college. I then went vegan in the 90s. I have some minor health issues, none that are obviously connected to nutrition according to allopathic...

    I went vegetarian at 14. I took a year off in college. I then went vegan in the 90s.

    I have some minor health issues, none that are obviously connected to nutrition according to allopathic medicine.

    I am the only one in my extended family who does not have an issue with their cardiovascular system.

    My late father died of bowel cancer in his early 70s. If I make it beyond that age without bowel cancer I will thank my diet.

    Reading about how plant based diets are awesome for the environment and reduce animal cruelty is a bonus.

    Where else in life can you contribute toward helping macro issues just by choosing different tasty things to eat?

    8 votes
  9. pyeri
    Link
    Try to become vegetarian if possible, little by little if not at once. It's a food which is closer to the source, it nourishes the mind and spirit also along with the material sheath.

    Try to become vegetarian if possible, little by little if not at once.

    It's a food which is closer to the source, it nourishes the mind and spirit also along with the material sheath.

    6 votes
  10. [6]
    thecardguy
    Link
    Read through the original article. And there's one thing that stands out to me, that I saw in a comic many years ago, that ultimately is why I stick with meat: I know how to cook meat. Or to out...

    Read through the original article. And there's one thing that stands out to me, that I saw in a comic many years ago, that ultimately is why I stick with meat:

    I know how to cook meat.

    Or to out it another way: whenever vegetables and vegetarian (and maybe vegan?) cooking is brought up, the same line in brought up: it just sucks because you're not cooking it right!

    Which in my case is true- I'm American, and American cooking comes down to "throw the meat on the stove/grill for a few minutes, turn it over a few times, and you're done". Meanwhile, the implication for vegetable is that you have to have various seasonings and spices to make them tasty. I'll be honest: I hate cooking (I'm 100% a "set it and forget it" kind of guy), so anything that requires multiple components to make tasty... yeah, you lose me immediately.

    And yet for all of that, I am actually interested in Buddhist dishes to a certain extent. Not only is the country where I'm in massively influenced by Buddhism, but I always hear about how the traditional dishes are very healthy. And yet, at the end of the day, it's all about how tasty food is (screw you Stonewall Jackson, if anyone understands THAT obscure reference), and it seems to me that vegetables that are simply washed, cut up and arranged in colorful ways... do not make for a tasty meal.

    5 votes
    1. sparksbet
      Link Parent
      I came from a similar background to you, and my parents didn't do a fantastic job teaching me how to kill. Honestly I find meat a lot harder to cook well personally -- earlier in my cooking...

      I came from a similar background to you, and my parents didn't do a fantastic job teaching me how to kill.

      Honestly I find meat a lot harder to cook well personally -- earlier in my cooking journey, I made a lot of very bad "meat with basic seasoning" dishes due to never learning how to effectively season or heat meat. In particular I find texture a lot easier to manage with vegetables than meat, but I also have more experience with them, which is definitely a factor.

      Sauces and seasonings are important for tasty veggies, but they're also important for tasty meat in my opinion. One of our favorite easy dishes is a simple stir-fry, where the seasoning amounts to tossing a bunch of sauce and aromatics in the pan. If I add meat to the same stir-fry, I add more seasoning to the meat itself too as a quick marinade. Most of the work is the chopping, but even that doesn't take that long.

      Anyway if you want recommendations from a very lazy mediocre cook who does still eat meat but often cooks meatless meals for convenience, let me know and I'll write up some of my easier weeknight recipes.

      4 votes
    2. [4]
      ButteredToast
      Link Parent
      Learning to cook well is one of the barriers for me as well (also an American). I’d actually like to learn all that, but it takes substantial time, energy, and planning which aren’t necessarily in...

      Learning to cook well is one of the barriers for me as well (also an American). I’d actually like to learn all that, but it takes substantial time, energy, and planning which aren’t necessarily in surplus.

      This compounds with nutritional completeness concerns for fully vegan cooking (not so much for vegetarian), and fresh veggies don’t keep well which makes planning much more important if avoiding waste is a goal.

      Aside from that, it’s just not very enticing to be faced with however many weeks of bad to mediocre dinners after workdays until I get things figured out.

      So if I do it, I’ll probably start with low-meat or vegetarian cooking, and it’ll probably be when/if I’m in the midst of an extended break between jobs, because I don’t know how it’d fit in otherwise.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        The dietary requirements for vegan diets are vastly overstated. Basically if you have a varied diet you should be fine. The one thing you will have to worry about is vitamin B12, which doesn't...

        The dietary requirements for vegan diets are vastly overstated. Basically if you have a varied diet you should be fine. The one thing you will have to worry about is vitamin B12, which doesn't tend to work well because we tend to wash it all off.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          tauon
          Link Parent
          A good friend of mine has been vegan since teenager times, and on quite the balanced diet too. Whenever we go to the local blood donation event together (it’s allowed to go once every 3 months...

          Basically if you have a varied diet you should be fine.

          A good friend of mine has been vegan since teenager times, and on quite the balanced diet too. Whenever we go to the local blood donation event together (it’s allowed to go once every 3 months here for women, whereas I can and do go more often), odds aren’t low that she’s told her hemoglobin (iron? I believe) value is below the allowed threshold, and she’s had to take supplements to meet not only the minimum for that, but also an even lower value the GP told her to somewhat urgently reach.

          That’s all to say my understanding is it can be quite the effort to meet certain nutritional goals on a vegan diet – and I’m fairly certain that were I to try it, I’d fail to account for at least some of these things and end up “undernourished” with regard to certain areas due to a poorly varied diet.

          3 votes
          1. DefinitelyNotAFae
            Link Parent
            I am not vegan and usually have to supplement my iron to donate blood regularly. Some folks are just anemic, some folks are avoiding the easy non-meat iron sources for other reasons, some folks...

            I am not vegan and usually have to supplement my iron to donate blood regularly. Some folks are just anemic, some folks are avoiding the easy non-meat iron sources for other reasons, some folks take supplements and can never donate.

            5 votes
  11. Tiraon
    Link
    On one hand I agree with large parts of the essay but on the other I think that(among guilt-tripping) it advocates for a thing that is far harder to achieve than most people can achieve for any...

    On one hand I agree with large parts of the essay but on the other I think that(among guilt-tripping) it advocates for a thing that is far harder to achieve than most people can achieve for any single one thing that is not their sole focus and that makes it easier to just dismiss and move on.

    I find that a lot of things in that that would be net positive to do(or avoid) in a life of a person are order(s) of magnitude harder to eliminate entirely than just minimize as much as possible(and that much as possible can be once a month I ...) due to pressure of society and practical concerns. There are so many things that one should care about that it is simply too much.

    A better world would steer our decisions the other direction, but in the meantime only asking people to do as much as they can and elaborating on the reasons why it is important is likely to be more widely accepted and consequently have bigger impact.

    3 votes
  12. [3]
    chargrilled_broccoli
    Link
    This whole thing started well and has ended up being the most depressing, demoralising and upsetting thing I've ever had the misfortune to follow here. Reconsidering my platform choices to be...

    This whole thing started well and has ended up being the most depressing, demoralising and upsetting thing I've ever had the misfortune to follow here. Reconsidering my platform choices to be honest, don't know why I thought this place was better.

    Yeah yeah, it's not an airport, departure announcements are not necessary, I get it. Bye

    5 votes
    1. lou
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Although Tildes is generally more uplifting and reasonable than some places, it still reflects much of the same trends you would observe in groups of a similar cultural background. That includes...

      Although Tildes is generally more uplifting and reasonable than some places, it still reflects much of the same trends you would observe in groups of a similar cultural background. That includes upsetting behaviors, I'm afraid. Some users seem to arrive with unreasonable expectations. We are not pure or morally superior. We just try to be civil. Sometimes not even that.

      9 votes
    2. DefinitelyNotAFae
      Link Parent
      Honestly I'm sorry you're feeling this way, and I'm not sure why you're feeling this way, but this isn't the sort of place to give you the airport line. I hope you find a place you feel ok being

      Honestly I'm sorry you're feeling this way, and I'm not sure why you're feeling this way, but this isn't the sort of place to give you the airport line. I hope you find a place you feel ok being

      9 votes