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Wanting to quit. food waste? less vegetables after going vegan?

Discussion in 'Support' started by heilo, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. heilo

    heilo Member

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    Hello,

    Please tell me I'm wrong and convince me to stay vegan in a logical and valid way!!!!

    I have been vegan for 2+ years. I am starting to question whether my actions are truly ethical and healthy for me.

    My first qualm:
    • My first year of being vegan was great. Slowly over the past year, I have found that I have started to become extremely lazy about cooking and picky if I am cooking for myself. I think this is possibly connected to the fact that I work as a chef and always have been in a kitchen. Secondly, I finally admitted to myself that I have dealt with an eating disorder and I have been getting help for the past 7 months (coming from a past of eating extremely "healthy"/restriction).
    • In the process of healing from ED and listening to whatever my body wanted, I realized I hate cooking/eating vegetables fruit etc., when I'm at home (I have no problem if I eat elsewhere). I joke that I'm a vegan who hates vegetables, but it's true. I will eat fake meats, fake cheeses, breads, pastas constantly. It feels more unhealthy to me than my omnivore diet. And I believe this is true.
    • Let's say my omnivore meal would have been rice, chicken, peppers, and salad. I honestly feel that is healthier than (Earth balance with palm oil on 4 pieces of toast for breakfast. Fake bacon and cheese sandwich, and pasta with butter and nutritional yeast- maybe some spinach for dinner).
    • I don't have too much of a problem when I eat out- I don't mind squash potatoes etc. but it's $$$.
    My second qualm:
    • I work for a catering company that throws away a loootttt of food. Like 200-300lbs per day. The other day, we were throwing out about 15 full salmon, and I thought... I know this salmon is likely not raised ethically, but it has died nonetheless and will be thrown away. I could go home, and buy something that's wasting packaging, transportation, money etc. or I could eat this salmon. I feel sad about eating animal meat, but it feels way more ethical to eat this and not have it waste its life for nothing.
    • Spiritual beliefs aside, I cannot fight my own argument with the health argument- because the processed **** I eat is no worse than this salmon!
    My third qualm:
    • The agriculture of farming vegetable can be harmful to humans and the earth also. I read about vegetable companies that hire immigrants and treat them so poorly just as the meat factory workers.
    • I feel guilty buying a vegetable at the grocery store anyways. I also, struggle with paying for groceries and live in somewhat of a food desert- and farmers markets are even more difficult to get to.
    • I also read about the terrible effects of farming almonds and I consume a lot of products with almonds in them. Same with palm oil- which makes me feel horrible. What makes a palm oil product superior to a milk product from a small dairy farm (I'm lactose intolerant, but I'm posing the question)?
    Overall chaos= I'm feeling like everything has a negative effect no matter what, and I'm still participating in a ton of harm. I'm trying to survive in ED recovery with the foods my body and mind are telling me to eat, which has made "healthy eating" an irrelevant argument for me currently.

    I want to be vegan. I want to be as ethical as possible. And I eventually want to be healthy

    PS: There is so much more to this story, so If I forgot major relevant points I will try to include them.

    <3
     
  2. Sax
    Happy

    Sax Active Member

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    Welcome heilo! What made you want to go vegan in the first place?

    Everyone has a different idea of healthy eating, and I doubt that anyone meets their ideal. I'm constantly falling short in that regard...too much oil, salt, caffeine, and alcohol. Try to focus on the things you're getting right about your diet. It sounds like you had some very unhealthy eating habits in the past but they've improved...that's a big deal. Way more important than processed vs whole foods. Give yourself credit. I don't know if holding yourself to an unreasonable standard played a role in your eating disorder, but if so ask yourself if that same mentality is playing out now.

    I hate wasting food! There's an argument to be made that eating discarded meat is ethical. But re-introducing meat to your diet could be a slippery slope. If you're veganism is already on shaky ground better not to test yourself. The potential costs outweigh the benefits. That salmon doesn't care if you post-humously give its death "meaning" in the form of your nutrition. It would be something to make you feel better but does nothing for the actual animals.

    Perhaps eating salmon could displace some even-less-healthy food from your diet, but that seems like a bad strategy. If you got a meth addict to spend some of their drug money on cigarettes you wouldn't call that progress, even if cigarettes are healthier. That's just adding another layer of bad habit on top of existing ones. I am NOT comparing your diet to a meth addiction! I don't know what your diet is but I suspect its really not so bad compared to the Standard American Diet. In fact, because you care about nutrition, it is certainly better.

    Remember that livestock are fed by agriculture. Whatever the human and environmental costs of feeding yourself on a plant based diet, you would only increase your impact - by a significant margin - by reintroducing animal products to your diet.

    I don't know you and don't want to armchair psychologize, but your post makes it sound like you're hard on yourself. I swear there's a whole section of my brain dedicated to criticizing the rest of me. Self-compassion and positive thinking, as hokey as those terms sound, has been helpful.

    Whatever you do with regards to healthy eating and veganism, good luck with your continued ED recovery.
     
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  3. heilo

    heilo Member

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    Thank you Sax- You made a few good/uplifting points that I agree with.

    I was vegetarian for 2 years when I was 11 because I felt very sad about animals being killed. I became vegan when I was 20 to help combat stomach issues/playing into my eating disorder/hoping to help the environment. It has since returned to me feeling sad about harming animals.
     
  4. poivron

    poivron Member

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    Veganism is very difficult in a world that doesn't see a problem with torturing and killing animals. Your struggles are a natural consequence of that.

    First, I think that you are mistaken in thinking that processed vegan foods are less healthy than unprocessed animal products. That's what omnivores claim, but research shows that what is unhealthy is animal protein. Even eating small amounts of animal products increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer's, and many cancers. Watch this video that summarizes the research on this:

    Just make sure you're getting plenty of fiber and supplementing with vitamins B12 and D3, as well as iodine and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Second, as far as I'm concerned, you would still be vegan if you ate the salmon that is about to be thrown away. No additional animals would be harmed by your eating it, and you would be reducing waste and thereby helping the environment. It wouldn't, however, be good for your health, and I can't in good conscience tell someone to eat animals knowing everything I have learned by watching Dr. Greger's videos at nutritionfacs.org.

    Your third set of worries are a consequence of living in a world that doesn't value the lives of animals or the environment. The way to change that is by being vegan and by spreading veganism. That, in the end, is perhaps the best reason to be vegan. By being a healthy and happy vegan, you serve as a role model to those around you.

    (If you're drinking a lot of almond milk, it's still a lot better for the environment than dairy milk, but soymilk might be a good replacement. The fears about soy are unfounded. The dairy industry has lost 40% of market share in the last 40 or 50 years, so they've spread rumors about soy in an effort to hurt the soymilk industry. Moreover, avoiding palm oil does not justify forcibly separating a calf from its mother so that humans can drink the milk that was intended for the calf and is harmful for adult humans. Palm oil, by the way, is in everything, not just in processed vegan foods. And not all palm oil is equal. Earth Balance, which uses only 0.05% of the palm oil produced in the world, swiched to using sustainably sourced palm oil in 2015. In my opinion, if we're concerned about palm oil, we need to significantly reduce our population, and that means not having children.)

    Anyway, hang in there. You seem to be going through a difficult period, as we all do occasionally. You will come out of this stronger. Remind yourself that in the end, being vegan in a non-vegan world is more about a general philosophy of love and compassion toward all living beings, including yourself, than it is about purity, perfection, or consistency in all the minute details of your life.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
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  5. heilo

    heilo Member

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    Thank you. I still have a lot of research I feel I need to do, but this makes me feel a bit better. Thank you both for the supportive comments.
     
  6. Forest Nymph
    Mummified

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    1. This is hard to address since I'm not a therapist or counselor of any kind, obviously. Is it possible for you to eat more tofu, seitan, tempeh or beans than "fake meats"? It would certainly be cheaper too. There's nothing wrong with Tofurky but it shouldn't be the centerpiece of your diet. You could also try making more dishes with nuts or nut butters. I make a savory rice-pasta dish with peanut butter, lime juice, Sriracha, Bragg's liquid aminos or soy sauce, and just a little hot water to make it all blend together more smoothly. Obviously you could add herbs (like cilantro) or veggies you like or tofu or whole peanuts to it to make it heartier. Also...you list out a meal that says "rice, chicken, peppers and salad"....you could have the same meal: rice, sauteed peppers, a green salad...with tofu or Gardein vegan chk'n instead. I don't see how being vegan is stopping you from eating rice, peppers and salad. The last comment I want to make here is that squash and potatoes are really easy to bake in the oven, they take very little prep. Baked/jacket potatoes can be rubbed down with olive oil and salt and baked for 45 min- 1 hr on 400 degrees F. If you want to bake several at a time, you can pop one in the microwave to reheat later, or mash it tomorrow creamed potatoes with Earth Balance and soy milk. You can literally cut a squash in half, lay it cut-side down in an inch or two of water in a baking dish, and bake it until it's soft at 350 F. You can also buy canned or frozen vegetables. They practically cook themselves.

    2. While I understand your concerns, and this would work if you were a "freegan" or flexitarian (I know two people who eat vegetarian meals unless someone buys or serves them meat), ultimately farmed salmon is really bad for people and the environment (including the salmon)...if you were going to eat left-over salmon make sure it's not Atlantic or farmed (most is). At any rate, the fact that you would take fish from your work sends the message to produce more fish, because someone wants it. I know this isn't the same as actually buying it, but still. You could also reduce waste by composting it or feeding it to non-human animals.

    3. Farmers at animal agriculture factory farms actually suffer PTSD from how badly they're treated. While I understand you have additional concerns with workers on vegetable farms, I don't see how eating animal products will help the treatment of any farm worker. That's an entirely separate issue you can work on if you wish. Why would you feel guilty buying vegetables in a grocery store? How is this any different than you taking fish from your work or buying pasta at the grocery store? I'm really failing to see the logic you're using here. In a food desert try buying canned or frozen vegetables or take vegetables home from your work. Finally, while almonds may use more water than a lot of plant-based foods, any dairy product (cow's milk/goat cheese etc) uses significantly more water!!! The almond argument is a pathetic ploy by the meat/dairy industry to try to distract from how they're still using a lot more water than any plant food. Same for California wine country ...like onoes CA drought might limit your wine...it's like really, why hasn't it stopped your cattle and pig ranching first?

    Good luck. I hope you feel better.
     
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  7. heilo

    heilo Member

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    Thank you- a lot of the reservations about eating vegetables currently are connected to me fearing my old habits i think. So it's really just a weird mental thing I've been trying to work around.

    You all raised a good point about the almonds.

    The concern about vegetables from a grocery store is that people are still treated extremely poorly on these farms. People are overworked, not given healthcare, and many other sad things I've read about. So I feel like I'm steel feeding into suffering. I guess it's a matter of: I'm still going to cause harm no matter what, so what's the least harmful?
     
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  8. amberfunk

    amberfunk Active Member

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    Have you tried going to a small family owned farm or a farmer's market to get veggies? It might help with your anxiety about the ones at the grocery store.
     
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  9. Consistency
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    Consistency Active Member Banned

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    I've noticed that pesticides negatively affect the brain immensely. Are you eating Organic produce?

    I was at this cross road years ago while trying to figure out the B12 dilemma. I tried a piece of cooked pork and fainted. My body said NO. Then tried raw beef without condiments and even though my immune system didn't go off. It was disgusting and tasted like survival food. I eventually did solve the dilemma since meat was logically off my plate and my dictator parents refused to buy me supplements. I highly recommend experimenting to figure out your own truth. I can tell that you understand the importance of not paying into corruption and you will do what is moral.

    Logically there is nothing wrong with eating fish low on the food chain (hence low in Mercury) that will be thrown out unless eating it will eventually cause a demand for it.

    I would never eat meat from land animals as there is too many negative genes activited by it's consumption.
     
  10. Forest Nymph
    Mummified

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    Speaking as a student of science, your response that "logically there is nothing wrong with eating fish low on the food chain (hence low in mercury)" is bizarre in its inaccuracy. First of all, fish aren't "low on the food chain." Biomagnification is always greater in animal flesh than it is in plant sources...adult salmon eat other fish, squid, shrimp, eels, they don't even just eat plankton or insects. So that's just wrong. Secondly, only wild salmon are lower in mercury...farmed fish are problematic on MANY levels...they are fed antibiotics and other terrible substances just like factory farmed birds and mammals. They are often inbred, disease-ridden and they cannibalize their own brethren. This means eating farmed fish isn't healthy, and that farmed fish don't lead the greatest existence, and they additionally pose a threat to wild salmon. Thirdly, salmon are an important source of nutrition for wildlife such as bears, eagles, seals and herons. The seas are overfished already so encouraging people to eat fish because you personally have no logical argument against it doesn't mean that logical arguments don't exist that you currently aren't educated about.
     
  11. Consistency
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    Consistency Active Member Banned

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    I agree and I am well aware of everything you pointed out including feeding chicken feathers to farmed fish.

    I feel that people should be free to make their own mistakes because this is the only way we can learn.

    I have worked at a banquet a decade ago and felt disgusted with the amount of food being thrown out because I'm the type of person to always eat everything on my plate and I will lick the plate clean sometimes.

    I feel being wasteful is more wrong than eating fish that will not cause a demand for it. Unless it caused a demand for it because the manager secretly ordered more salmon on purpose.

    The OP has valid concerns.

     
  12. Forest Nymph
    Mummified

    Forest Nymph Active Member

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    Yes the OP has valid concerns and I reassured her of that in her first post. I was talking to you not the OP. I suggested she feed a the salmon to non-human animals or compost it instead.

    You apparently weren't aware of everything I said, since SALMON ARE NOT LOW IN THE FOOD CHAIN. They are omnivores. Just because something lives in the ocean does not make it "low in the food chain." Ecologists and biologists tend to discuss these matters in food webs now rather than chains, anyway.

    Also, the fact that all animal flesh harbors the aspect of bioaccumulation more so than directly eating plant foods doesn't make a fish magically sort of like a plant because it's not a land mammal.

    You said there's no logical argument against fish and I'm explaining that there is one.
     
  13. Consistency
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    Consistency Active Member Banned

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    You sure like to get in the middle of it.

    Salmon aren't high on the food chain either. ;)

    Plant seeds also bioaccumulate toxins and heavy metals.

    I'm very sensitive to toxins and I've consumed farmed salmon years ago and only noticed a small amount of acne from the antibiotics. While wild red salmon did cause major brain inflammation. We can take all the measurements we want and then personal experience says different. What then?
     
  14. veganDreama

    veganDreama Active Member

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    Hello Heilo. I've had eating disorders in the past and used to be a very fussy eater before I went vegan. Gradually I found I was starting to eat and even like plant based food. Maybe you could start gradually replacing the fake meat with tofu and vegetables.

    As to the ethnics of poor workers on vegetable and nut farms. I agree with the others. You will still be promoting poor workers if you didn't eat a vegan diet.

    I hope you decide to stay vegan. I've found my own veganism to be like a branch to hold on to in a stormy sea.
     

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