Going Vegan, Ep. 13: The Facebook Incident

 In lifestyle

FacebookSee what a harmless little Facebook post can spawn?

Rachel Anne Scott

Avocadoes, tomatoes, chickpeas….who said being vegan wasn’t fun?

Carina Roter

Wait until you get hooked on RAW. More fun in the summer but you will feel amazing!

Tyler Wright

there’s a party in your mouth and everyone’s sprouting

Stephanie Belding

Woo hoo!!!! Wait til you discover nutritional yeast and hemp seeds and nori with everything- huzzah!!!

Gregg Paris Yates

Ummm. Vegan? Tell me this is a passing phase…

Brent Hammond

yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Roger Andrew

Just sprinkle it with bacon bits…

Stephanie Belding

Passing phase? What, compassion over killing, respect for all sentient beings, not to mention an environmentally intelligent and overabundant and nutritious diet? I never understand the judgment as some negative deprivation; then again I don’t let my palate dictate my ethics.

Lizzi Hollanders

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz good luck with that riveting variety of palate sensations. I think I’ll just tuck into my duck breast with a port blackberry reduction, and my dessert of a flourless chocolate cake rich with eggs and cream and sugar…. or maybe I’ll make my rosemary crusted rack of lamb and pepper soufflé… or maybe a simply porter house steak with a peppercorn sauce or maybe…

Stephanie Belding

Wow Lizzi, you’ve obviously never had great vegan food. And do you want to know exactly how your food ended up on your plate and what it costs you, the animal s and the environment to get there? Or what the dairy- filled with pus and feces, btw- is actually doing your heart and arteries, not to mention your overall energy and libido? I dunno, I simply have no humor when it comes to choosing exploitation and suffering as one’s meal. Completely unattractive. Check out The Artful Vegan: http://bit.ly/8c9wb6 – the food will blow your mind. The most exquisite food anywhere from The Millennium Restaurant. Can we say enlightened?

Lizzi Hollanders

No, I don’t really care… I don’t buy mass produced food. I lived and grew up on a farm. I raised, loved and slaughtered animals. And as far as I am concerned you eat the diet your body wants. If my body wanted to be vegan it would be, but it does not want it. I wholly support anyone who wants to eat the diet that is right for them and their path and don’t have time to pass judgment or be all high and mighty about it. I was pulling Rachel’s leg as she knows full well. I deeply respect and support her in whatever choices she makes be it culinary or otherwise. FB is an open forum and sometimes tone is lost ergo my tone was *friendly sarcasm*. Each spiritual path is its own path. Yours is vegan, mine is paved with lard and I am content with it. You want to judge me and call yourself enlightened then by all means live by that code, have a good time and ttyl.

Brent Hammond

Luckily not all vegans are high and mighty Liz. I’ve been vegan for 1/2 my life. Couple of my best friends will never be vegan and I don’t hold anything against them for that. Will say I’m going to outlive them though. LOL.

Seriously though the best tasting meals are vegan — probably because if you just remove meat from a regular North American diet, there’s nothing left. Cooking without meat and dairy requires an expansion of creativity and knowledge. I do eat a much larger variety of food than I did when I ate meat, and than 99% of carnivores. And I can outcook most of them too… My main point is that it’s not restrictive; unless you keep you limit yourself by not exploring all the choices available. Also: not all vegans are judgmental and “religious” about their path.

Lillian Dunn

Oh, Rachel! See what you’ve started with your innocent little posting? Can’t we all just get along? 😉

Oh my. Oh, and in the time that it took me to go and pour a glass of wine and come back to the computer, this came in:

Stephanie Belding

I am really intrigued by your reaction-and yes it is an open forum and tone can be lost or misconstrued. I live by my code and obviously, you, yours. I love and support Rachel’s decisions as well- and it’s interesting that my posts are perceived as high and mighty and not as someone who is also expressing her opinion. I find often that people get quite angry, confrontational and harsh when it comes to food and ethics; I live my life as lightly as possible on the planet and when asked about why I make those choices, I respond with the ethical basis for how I live. How others react to it is indicative of who they are; when it’s construed as high and mighty or judgmental, that’s not my issue, that’s theirs.

Wow.

It’s like the book said, being vegan is quite the hot potato.

On first read, I thought Stephanie’s post was a bit confrontational.  After all, Liz was just being a smartass and funny and what’s the big deal?  No need to get hysterical, right?  But, because I also know Steph isn’t an “in your face” kind of vegan, I decided to drink my wine and read all the posts again.  It did get me to thinking…

What is it about veganism that people don’t want to take seriously?

Like my good buddy Greg writing, “Tell me this is a passing phase.”  Why should this be a passing phase?  What does he really have against veganism?  What could possibly be wrong with it?  Now, Greg is not an jerk, he’s a great guy, but somehow the word “vegan” and “animal rights” raises hackles.   Or at least seems to cause some knee-jerk casual derision.

veganabolitionAbolition v. Regulation

Unlike me, Stephanie objects to any exploitation of animals.  Period.  There is no “kind hunting” or “respectful killing.”  You don’t exploit animals for your food, your makeup, your clothes, or your bag.  She does not support zoos or aquariums.  She is what they would call an “Abolitionist” as opposed to a “Welfarist,” or someone interested in Regulation.

According to www.abolitionistapproach.com, an abolitionist approach:

(1) requires the abolition of animal exploitation and rejects the regulation of animal exploitation; (2) is based only on animal sentience and no other cognitive characteristic, (3) regards veganism as the moral baseline of the animal rights position; and (4) rejects all violence and promotes activism in the form of creative, non-violent vegan education.

Whereas a Regulation approach basically says it’s okay to eat treat animals as resources, as long as you are humane.

At this time, I’m more in the Regulation camp.  Not to cop out, but my reasoning is that animals have been killing animals for ….well, ever.  Circle of life and all that.  However, we have become so removed from the actual process of killing that we’ve been able to forget what our part in the circle actually is.  Most of us participate in a culture of denial around how meat actually comes to us.  Not when we can pop into the store and buy something called “meat” that we easily forget was once the rib of a cow.  And we’re not encouraged to think too much.  One of my best friends used to say  that “hamburgers come from the hamburger tree.”  This is a very enlightened lady I’m talking about.  But, uh, no, hamburgers DON’T actually come from the hamburger tree.

And the ways in which animals are being slaughtered… I mean, it’s pretty terrible.   (Don’t take my word for it.  Do your research.  I trust you not to bury your head in the sand.)  And here’s my problem.  I like animals.  They shouldn’t be in pain, and terrified, and tortured.

Jain
Jain

So here’s what I’m realizing about vegans:  Veganism is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.  It’s a moral code.  And Vegans live by their ethics.  The non-violence of Vegan ethics brings to mind Jainism.  Jains are a spiritual sect so interested in the well being of other creatures that they sweep the floor in front of them to ensure they won’t harm insects and creepy crawlies.  Some Jains wear face masks so that they don’t accidentally breathe in insects. Here’s a quote:

“Those who eat the meat of other [living beings] in order to satisfy their own flesh, they are definitely murderers [themselves], since without a consumer [there can be] no killer.” — Acharya Hemacandra (12th c. Jain ascetic/scholar)

Pretty intense.  But if we think of Vegans like Jains, why do we admire one’s commitment to a peaceful life and yet taunt Vegans for their choices?

Maybe we just want to knock them off their moral pedestal: “What makes them think they’re better than us?”   My guess is we wouldn’t get defensive if we really believed in what we were doing.  My hunch is that we want to make fun of vegans because there’s actually something there worth thinking about.  So while it’s true that some people really can’t do a vegetarian diet,  for a lot of us those are excuses that we use when we don’t want to look any further.

So I ask: are we really consuming with awareness?  Or do we just keep recreating the cycle of what our mums and dads fed us  without really, deeply questioning how we want to spend our time, our dollars, and our energy?

Food for thought.

Author’s note: And interestingly, since I have written this article, Greg actually tried being vegan for health reasons…

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