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Am i vegan?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Jamie in Chile, Nov 21, 2018.

?

Am I A Vegan?

  1. Yes, without doubt

    10.0%
  2. Yes

    50.0%
  3. Not sure, it's borderline

    10.0%
  4. No, but not far off

    10.0%
  5. No, and not even close

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Don't know

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Other answer (please comment)

    20.0%
  1. Jamie in Chile
    Balanced

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    Lifestyle/Diet:
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    (1,300 words. 5 minutes to read.)

    I do this lifestyle for ethical reasons.

    Some people might say "just say you are plant based" but "I won't go to the zoo since I am plant based" doesn't make a lot of sense.

    I sometimes say "vegetarian and mostly vegan" but that is a mouthful and if I say that and then refuse a cake made with egg, someone is going to think why didn't I just say vegan. On the other hand if I am known as "vegan" hosts may go to a significant amount of effort say making sure a dish is strictly vegan in every detail which would be more effort than I myself would do for my own food, which seems unfair.

    Obvious Stuff
    I never eat meat, fish, cheese, butter, milk, or eggs (unless they are vegan versions). I also don't eat honey. I do eat almonds and avocados.

    Things With Diary In
    I almost always avoid products with milk chocolate on them, cake and ice-cream. However occasionally I eat one in social situations (although usually I decline). Overall I'd say I've cut down my consumption of such products by about 95%.

    Gelatin
    I do eat sweets with gelatin (a few a week) because my wife is buying them for the kids and they are just there. I see this as a bad habit, and want to cut this out at some point. I don't myself buy products with gelatin.

    Shopping
    I feel it would put an unnecessary strain on our relationship if I tried to do the shopping, or insisted on non-vegan pastas and breads, so I let that slide, and eat whatever pastas and breads she does for me and be thankful for what she does for me. Same in restaurants; I never ask about the pastas or breads.

    Veggie Burger
    A few times my wife bought me a veggie burger with egg listed in the ingredients. I ate it, but politely asked her to get a different one next time.

    Pizza
    A year or two ago I ordered a pizza without cheese in a fast food place, and it came with cheese. I ate it anyway. If the same thing ever happens, I'd possibly still eat the cheese. I don't see the point in wasting it. Also, I never ask if the base is vegan. I eat any pizza base. However I always order pizza without cheese, and won't eat a supermarket one since they always have cheese.

    Food Waste
    On a very, very rare occassion I have eaten a product with some cheese in (or slight trace of butter on) that was certain to be thrown away if I didn't, or even a second away from the trash. I am not a big fan of food waste. The last time I ate cheese in this way was maybe a year ago. I wouldn't do the same with meat or fish or eggs. I decided to just draw a firm line there.

    Ingredients
    When I buy products in packets with ingredients, I read the ingredients and if there is an animal products in the first 5-10 ingredients, I don't buy it. However if there are 20-30 ingredients I very often stop reading after the first 5-10 ingredients, since the products are listed in order of amount, and so once you get past the first 5-10 ingredients, any animal suffering will be tiny. Also, I very often find things in the ingredients that I don't know what they are. I usually just ignore these and don't bother to find out what they are.

    Clothes and Shoes
    I have stopped buying non-vegan clothes and shoes and other products like that. However I would sometimes judge based on what sort of fabric it looks like and I ask in store if they think it is vegan and trust them, rather than checking online lists before buying. I did buy a shoe with a small piece of leather on it marking the company name. The rest of the shoe is vegan as far as I can tell. I did this because I had been looking for hours and that was the best I could find in a reasonable price without going back to the shops a second day. I did buy a vegan sleeping bag instead of a down one.

    Zoos
    I refuse to go to zoos, no exceptions. I have considered making an exception for animal rescue centres/shelters, but I haven't actually done this yet because I am skeptical of some of them. For entertainment centres with animal attractions as one small part, I attend, but refuse to do that part and let others do it without me (e.g. parrot attraction in a kids theme park). I wouldn't go to a circus with animals.

    Toothpaste
    I have been using Colgate toothpaste, because there is no vegan toothpaste available within 30 miles of our house. I know this because I have checked online about all of them. I found a vegan one online and had it shipped to the house, but then it stopped being available. I found one in the big city where I go occasionally, and use that when I go there. I also made my own, but I didn't like it. It went hard, and tastes weird. Eventually I'll probably figure out a better solution, but for now I'm using Colgate at least some of the time.
    Last year I went to South Korea on a business trip and forgot my toothpaste, and I was in a shop, and all the writing on the toothpastes was in Korean only. I just picked any one at random.

    Shampoo
    My wife bought me a shampoo for Christmas. I don't know if it's vegan. I'm not going to check.

    Leather
    I still have a few non-vegan products from before I changed to this more ethical lifestyle; a leather belt, a leather wallet and a car with leather seats. However, I expect I'll replace those eventually. I slightly dislike having them, but perhaps I've been a bit lazy or cheap about replacing these.

    Other
    I will never try and get 100% vegan cars, computers etc. That feels like a fools game. Just avoid leather and hope for the best on the rest. Random small products like random things like say sunglasses or telephones or paper or boxes or a radio I'll rarely try and check if they are vegan either. They probably are, or close enough, as long as they don't have some obvious animal material on them.

    Standards
    I think my standards dip a bit because I live in Chile, and it is harder to order online or google if something is vegan. I would do better in US, UK etc. I would also do better if I lived alone, or with other like-minded people.

    I feel like I've reduced my animal suffering from animal products by say 99%, and that's probably more important than the last 1%. I'm not really in transition since I've been doing this for nearly 3 years now but I tend to become stricter over time and have an aspiration and tendency to improve, but I am in no hurry about it.

    So please don't comment but not vote, I want to see the results of the vote with a yes/no answer. I think it may be interesting to others also.

    In spite of what I said at the beginning, thee question is NOT "should I call myself a vegan?" but "am I a vegan" so if you think I am not a vegan strictly speaking but would have no issue with me saying I am and would hesitate to vote no out of politeness, then don't hesitate and still vote no, thanks.

    A response like "it's up to you where you draw the line and how you define your life" is probably not helpful either, I want a yes/no answer this time or if you can't there's always "don't know/borderline" in which case maybe it really is up to me.

    I'll display the results of others' votes but if possible please decide your vote before looking at this to avoid just being swayed by the majority.

    Thanks for your help.

    PS I do advocate for veganism in gentle ways like facebook, invite people to vegan restaurants, give money to animal charities etc.
     
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  2. rogerjolly
    Breezy

    rogerjolly Active Member

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    Hi Jamie,

    Been doing a lot of soul searching, huh? It happens to all of us.

    A strong parallel is the case of devout Christians. Every one of them would say, “I am a Christian but I am also a sinner. I strive to improve.”

    I am a convinced atheist but that guy Jesus had a lot of good stuff to say including, “Let he without sin cast the first stone.”

    Roger.
     
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  3. Lou
    Happy

    Lou Active Member

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    I thought on this overnight and I think you over overconcerned with what vegans call "personal purity".

    I worry about it too. Maybe all vegans do. and maybe we shouldn't

    There is a lot written about Personal Purity. I think every vegan website has at least one article on it. And as far as I can tell, they are all pretty much against it as a goal.

    Forest Nymph recently included in a thread a take that I'm going to call the 99% rule because I hadn't been exposed to it. Hopefully, she will enter this conversation and comment on it.

    I have a take on it - which when deconstructed might mean exactly the same thing. And that comes from the aphorism, " Perfection is the enemy of good enough". People who are concerned with making something perfect sometimes end up making nothing at all. And don't forget the Law of Diminishing Returns. To go from 80% vegan to 90% vegan takes a lot more effort than to go from 70 to 80. and to go from 90 to 100 takes way more.

    In the definition of Vegan are the words "practical and possible". At what point does the effort become impractical? I believe it's up to each vegan to decide where "good enough" lies.

    The goal of veganism is not to produce to perfect little vegans. The goal is to eliminate animal cruelty.

    This is a pretty good article on the topic.
    https://www.abolitionistapproach.co...er-singer-personal-purity-principles-justice/
     
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  4. Jamie in Chile
    Balanced

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    I haven't really been doing soul searching (although I do think I should cut out or cut back on the sweets and cakes). It's just that people ask me "are you vegan?" and I don't know what to say and give uncertain answer and this has been going on for years so I decided to finally come up with a definite answer to this question.

    I don't aspire to the label, I just want to describe myself accurately - when asked.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
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  5. Jamie in Chile
    Balanced

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    The Francione article you posted quotes many people that support your viewpoint but the author of the article seems to have the opposite viewpoint to you.

    I think what's missing in the Francione article is the time that we are in or the place that some of us are in.

    Francione says that we if we don't object to small amounts of animal food we ought not to object to “small” instances of misogyny or racism.

    But if we having this conversation in the year 1800 ago I WOULD suggest we don't object to small instances of misogny or racism. If 200 years ago everytime someone said or did something a tiny bit racist or sexist you objected to it I think that may have been counter productive and impractical and just let to you being sidelined and ignored and it made more sense to start with big stuff like ending slavery and legalizing property rights and voting for women, and worry about other stuff later.

    In terms of animal rights, it is about where some human rights were in the year 1800, so it makes sense as a strategic approach, not a moral one, to perhaps focus less on the little stuff.

    Conversely, once we maybe one day get to a situation where the vegans and vegetarians are in the majority, it may make perfect sense to criticise people for eating sweets or cake. Just like it is makes sense today, and is strategic, to call out small amounts of racism and sexism.

    I'm not trying to defend any of my own behaviours here; I am talking about what type of activism might be more strategic; what will work.

    This post is not relevant to my poll question which is a more of a semantic definition question about where you draw an arbitrary line - more of an aside commenting on the Francione article.
     
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  6. Lou
    Happy

    Lou Active Member

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    Ok. let's put it this way. I don't think its possible to be a "perfect vegan". As plenty of people have pointed out. Global warming kills animals - you turn on the lights and somewhere a polar bear drowns. The combine harvesting the grain you eat next month is running over baby mice. Your grocer uses various ways to kill pests that might get into the store.

    We just do as good as job as we can. Who can ask more?

    I like to think of being vegan as not a finished product. But as a journey. A process. Veganism is the path. Compassion is a good word for the destination.
    " It's not the destination, it's the journey"
    - Emmerson

    Veganism is just about intent as it is about anything else. If you want to be a vegan. Poof! You are a vegan.

    So next time someone asks, say you are a vegan. And stop sweating the small stuff.

    Sometimes other vegans try to measure us. I've been called "Not Vegan Enough" or "Not A Real Vegan". Most of the time that person is too hung up on personal purity. Or just trying to make me feel bad. if the person has a legitimate point, take it as constructive criticism and try to do better. I think all of us can try to be better. But...as vegans, it's our jobs to encourage veganism. Support the people who are transitioning. (And I think we are all transitioning.) Not to make it unappealing or too difficult. Ten "90% vegans" is worth almost ten times one "100% vegan".
     
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  7. Lou
    Happy

    Lou Active Member

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    Wow. those are all excellent points. You have thought about this long and hard. Damn it. This is what makes philosophy so hard. there is always another way to look at it.

    And yes, this is the stuff that makes some stuff impractical and other stuff possible. I love the way your mind works.

    But to get to semantics, and I think I tried to express this earlier. but here it is. and of course, this is just my opinion.

    It's up to each and every vegan to decide where the line is. It's not arbitrary. It's personal. Most religions have all kinds of laws and rules to live by. but I'm against dogma. and veganism is not a religion. although it has some similarities. It's more of a philosophy. Behaviour should be left up to the individual. we all are different, with different needs and abilities. So each person gets to decide "what is good enough".

    I don't think anyone who is drawn to veganism is incapable of thinking for themselves. In fact, thinking for themselves should be encouraged. But not in you. You are obviously thinking too much. ;)

    So.... if you are against animal exploitation, and you are committed to do as much as possible to avoid it. You're a vegan.

    In my book, anyway. :)
     
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  8. Forest Nymph
    Procrastinating

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    I think most vegans struggle with something. For you it sounds mostly social that you are very concerned about your relationship with your wife and offers of cake from friends or family. Other points you made like toothpaste or shampoo can be remedied by homemade toothpaste and vegan shampoo is one of the cheapest options you can get.

    I do think reacting to every incident of racism or sexism in the 19th century also may have socially done more harm that good because if it's only 1-2 percent that's likely unintended subconscious or cultural racism rather than real conscious racism. The unintended subconscious can only be treated once the intended or conscious racism or sexism is confronted. This litmus for dealing with non vegan friends and family seems comparable and sane. It's one thing to be a social activist, it's entirely another to fight with loved ones at the dinner table because then they're never going to listen, your friends and family take it more personally or hurtfully than total strangers.

    Some vegans struggle with poverty or location. Others struggle with eating disorders or cravings or just plain ignorance.

    I believe it's not good to be lazy (you could definitely give up the gelatin snacks) but 99 percent is all most of us can usually hope for.

    If someone is wealthy and privileged though it's much harder to hear their excuses for why they just had to have a silk dress.

    Gary Franccione has done more harm to veganism than good. He is against pets or companion animals and attacks PETA even though they've accomplished more real world good than he has, and Ingrid Newkirk is the one who turned him vegan! I think he's an Ivory Tower creep tbh.
     
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  9. Forest Nymph
    Procrastinating

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    There's also something known as an ethical vegetarian. One of my older friends is one. She doesn't use gelatin or wear leather, her adult son has never had meat, she runs a no kill private cat shelter where they run free on beds and cat trees and a screened in porch unless they are sick or something she doesn't use cages. She buys all cruelty free and vegan cosmetics. The only thing is she believes dairy is necessary or something. Even then she buys the most humane she can find, and said she wishes she had her own chickens and a cow. I wouldn't call her plant based. I would call her an ethical vegetarian. She's more ethical than some people who call themselves vegan.
     
  10. TofuRobot
    Cold

    TofuRobot Active Member

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    Jamie - You are an astoundingly conscientious person making some very responsible and positive choices, but my answer to your question would be a simple 'No' on the basis that you knowingly choose to eat foods with animal products with them (there wasn't a simple "No" as an option). Following the definition of the word, it's really that simple. I'm not trying to be 'judgy' at all, just answering the question from a logical standpoint based on the definition of 'vegan.' Your original post was 2 years ago, so perhaps things have changed since then (?). As for the toothpaste, do you have any access to ordering products online? Suggesting this as an option for the toothpaste - or any other products you can't find in stores locally. xo
     
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  11. Jamie in Chile
    Balanced

    Jamie in Chile Active Member

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    Referring back to earlier posts, what I really struggle with is how I feel as an almost moral obligation to promote veganism vs the fact that I don't enjoy doing it, and where to draw the line on how much to promote veganism and encourage others to follow you vs respecting other's decisions.

    Tofu Robot, the post was a week ago. The date of 2 years ago you saw refers to the date I joined the forum. I don't mind if people are judgy, but saying I'm not a vegan is not a judgement in my opinion. I believe veganism and the best moral judgement are closely correlated but not precisely consistent.

    I did find 1 toothpaste online, and ordered it a few times, but then later on I found it out of stock. But I'll be able to solve this somehow, at some point, if I'm not lazy.

    Seeing that not enough people are voting on here to get useful data on typical opinions, I put a shortened version of the question on a Chilean vegetarians/vegans facebook page and the votes were (the last time I checked) Vegetarian 485 votes, Don't Know 102, Vegan 54. I also sent a bit shorter version of this article to the Vegan Society and they said I was not vegan. As far as I'm concerned, that settles it especially since I think all of this agrees with the impression I've got in the past about how strict you need to be to be vegan . It's a bit of a grey area but I'm not vegan.

    I think the definition, or its interpretation, ought to be opened up a bit to allow people like me to use it for simplicity, but it's not for me to change the definition against the majority opinion, so I think I'll continue to only refer to myself as vegan in restaurants and stores, but otherwise I'll stick with vegetarian and mostly vegan. I will try and do better in a few areas, but I am not willing to interrogate restaurants about how they make their pizza bases, pasta or bread, and nor am I (for now) willing to learn a long list of ingredients and check every ingredient on every product I buy.

    I am conscious of the fact that some people will think this is all weirdly autistic behaviour and need for unecessarily labelling of myself, and therefore rather a strange article, but I actually just got sick of people asking me if I was vegan over the years and not even having a clear answer. It wasn't that much time spent to answer a question properly, most of us spend far more time chit chatting on things of no concern at all. :)
     
  12. TofuRobot
    Cold

    TofuRobot Active Member

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    @Jamie in Chile - Sorry - I totally confused your 'join date' with the date of the post. :p ......... So here's my final take - At the end of the day, I simply don't think it matters that you label yourself at all for other people. It just doesn't. I know we sometimes feels compelled to, but personally, I refuse to do that. People want a convenient way to put people in a box and I refuse to be put into a box. What matters is that you're making conscious choices to do better, and you're committed to doing so going forward. That's really all that matters. xo
     
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  13. ski

    ski Member

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    you are what i would define as a vegan going every step to reduce your footprin/save animals
     
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  14. mavrick45
    Fiendish

    mavrick45 Member

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    I would say to people "Im trying to be more vegan" or something along those lines. I think it gets the message across succinctly enough.

    I would not call myself a full fledged vegan though. just as I would not call myself a marathon runner if 500 feet before the finish line I just quit and went home.
     
  15. Veggie-based Heathen
    Wishful

    Veggie-based Heathen Member

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    Wow, after reading this, I feel like I need to really step up my vegan game! I think you're doing amazing!!
     
  16. Queen of Strawberries
    Jubilant

    Queen of Strawberries Member

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    Not Vegan yet - but that's only because my parents won't let me go Vegan (They did say TODAY that I could go vegetarian though!!! - Baby steps forward but STILL FORWARD!!!)
     
  17. poivron

    poivron Active Member

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    You’re vegan and should say so to people. I was in a similar position to you a few years ago. It’s easier for me because I convinced my husband, who does almost all the cooking, to go vegan with me, but I would focus on all the ways I wasn’t a perfect vegan and would tell people I was vegetarian, or almost vegan, or that some vegans wouldn’t call me vegan. What this does is give people the impression that veganism is impossibly difficult. So, by listening to the most extreme vegans who would attack you for calling yourself vegan when you’re less vegan than they think they are, you’re actually hurting the cause of animals.

    Once you stop buying animal food products, the damage you do to animals goes down so much that everything else becomes statistical fluctuation. For example, a vegan who refuses to wear wool and leather but has a cat is actively supporting the factory farm industry every time she buys cat food. A vegan who throws away all her wool and leather clothes and buys plastic ones is polluting the environment that animals depend on: almost all donated clothes end up in the landfill, and vegan clothes are often made of plastic and dump plastic microparticles into the oceans every time they’re washed. Not using your heating and AC efficiently speeds up global warming and huts animals, but a vegan who turns her heat up to 82 in the winter and her AC down to 75 in the summer is considered a better vegan than one who keeps it at 68 in the winter and 80 in the summer but wears wool. Planting native plants is enormously helpful to wildlife, but it doesn’t make you a better vegan than a vegan who drives an SUV. If, beyond avoiding animal foods, you’re considering the consequences of all your actions and doing your best, you’re a vegan in my book.

    On the question of your small consumption of animal products, I suggest you look into how damaging they are to your health. Dr. Greger has great videos on this at nutritionfacts.org. Even though I went vegan for the animals, it was when I realized that even tiny amounts of animal products cause cancer and Alzheimer’s that I was able to avoid them completely. I used to eat cheese at restaurants when the food I had ordered without cheese arrived with cheese on it, but I don’t do so any more because I don’t want cheese in my body. (I don’t ask about bread and pasta at restaurants, though. Most bread and pasta are vegan, and asking about them just creates the impression that veganism is impossibly difficult. I always try to convey to people that veganism is easy and makes me deeply happy about living my life according to my beliefs.)
     
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  18. TofuRobot
    Cold

    TofuRobot Active Member

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    I rarely eat out but when I do, it never occurs to me to ask if the pasta or bread is vegan. I will, however, ask about the rice. There's a local restaurant here that puts butter in the white rice, but not in the brown rice. So I switched to always ordering the brown rice. Bread is usually vegan unless it's some kind of "fancy" bread like cheese bread or something, in which case it's obvious. Soft pretzels (which I LOVE) are often not vegan b/c they have egg - they usually use it to make the salt stick to it, which really bums me out. I've started avoiding those, or getting the kind in a package so at least it's got an ingredient list I can check.

    I used to work in a restaurant that literally had nothing vegan - even the vegetable soup was made with chicken broth. They are seriously living in the dark ages. The pasta had butter on it, as did any sauteed veggies. It's really SO much easier not to eat out at all, or at least choose a veg-friendly restaurant (that has things clearly marked as vegan or veg - at least they have a tiny bit of concern).
     

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