What attitude should a vegetarian or vegan have? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-26-2004, 09:50 PM
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Thank you for all the net friends answering to my latest question, the inconveniency of being a vegetarian, which helps me a lot. Here, i would like to raise a new question:



What attitude should someone who wishes to become a vegetarian or vegan have to face

(1)family,

(2)friends,

(3)colleagues,

(4)eating out with non-vegetarian friends,

(5)marriage,

(6)making friends,

(7)job

(8)traveling

(9)others you think should include

I would like to take your viewpoint to pass to some friends who wish to become a vegetarian or vegan but don't know what positive attitude to have.
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#2 Old 02-26-2004, 10:10 PM
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I usually don't have an attitude...but eventually someone will end up shoving meat in my face or try to fight with me about it, then I have to give them my little speech

I guess my motto would be "be nice if treated with respect *no questions*, be mean if insulted or hurt, be pushy if being pushed, and helpful if someone is interested, start a fight if they question your belief"
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#3 Old 02-26-2004, 11:02 PM
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I'm not sure I understand the question.
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#4 Old 02-26-2004, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

I'm not sure I understand the question.



Sorry, for not giving you my question clear, here, let me take one response from Ethel to expnain what i meant:



"I think being vegan has affected some of my friendships, though not significantly.

I don't think I have lost any friends over it but it certainly has changed things.



I have several groups of friends and in one group I am the only vegan. This has caused problems with eating out as the places they all want us to go can't feed me. We do a Sunday Lunch thing every month where one of us cooks and some of them will cook all vegan, others will cook something seperate for me. But there is no doubt it is a hassle. They go out of their way to make it seem normal for me but I know they get stressed by not knowing what I can have. (Many a panicked phonecall from the supermarket aisles on the Saturday to read out the list of ingredients of a sauce etc!)

Luckily we mostly go out to bars and pubs rather than for meals. But even then there is the post pub kebab or chipshop visit.



But if the 'culture' of the gang was to always eat out when we met it would cause a problem as they are always having to compromise to suit me."



What I want to ask here is, taking the example of eating out, when you are eating out with your non-vegetarian friends, what should you do without letting them get stressed. For a non-vegetarian guy who is considering becoming a vegetarian, he may not know how to deal with those non-vegetarian friends. I hope this is clear to you. Sorry, my mother language is not English.
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#5 Old 02-27-2004, 12:21 AM
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If you're asking what attitude is most positive, or what reasons to give are most inclusive and positive to the person receiving them, then my answers would be as follows. Each of the answers incorporates an "I'm doing this for myself" attitude which takes away the "You're an evil omnivore, I can't believe you step on animals" attitude.



(1)family,

- "I need to be vegan right now because I've recognized that respecting animals is a huge part of who I am, it's a part of my identity I'm discovering that I want to nourish... because I like that part of who I am and want it to grow."



(2)friends,

- "I'm being vegan because it's important to me, I really care about animals. And I'm not knocking you guys, I just want you also not to knock me just because I think this is important. I need to do this because I don't feel good about me unless I do this, and it's important that I respect myself. And don't forget that I respect you to, even if I don't eat what you eat."



(3)colleagues,

- "I don't eat animal products because of personal philosophical beliefs [or say religious beliefs]." - most people in a business environment won't go past that if religion or belief system is involved



(4)eating out with non-vegetarian friends,

- ahead of time you should make certain that where you're going will have options for you, or if you're okay eating before or after, drag them to somewhere you can eat while they wait for you after you've waited for them. Don't back down from how important this is to you. Being positive isn't about being disrespectful to yourself.



(5)marriage,

- this person should be told all the reasons, even the ones that sound hateful of others, of why you need to be vegan. It should be stressed that it isn't necessary for them to change who they are, but you do need to honor who you are as well. They should feel assured by the fact that you're married and that you love them so much that they aren't hated that they are just hearing your least rational thoughts because you want to share everything with them.



(6)making friends,

- Leave the topic of vegetarianism alone unless the conversation involves diet, food, animals, farming, etc. As you talk more and more about yourself, include that as one of the important parts of yourself. Don't figuratively wear a vegan button on your sleeve as if that's the most important thing in the world to you... because if it is the most important thing in the world to you, you may need to reevaluate your life--even people who helped free slaves in the South defined their own lives as being defined as including more than that.



(7)job

- You should never say anything about your vegetarianism or veganism until after you are hired. It is important that being vegetarian not become a stigma upon a person or have the effect of casting us as a minority. When you are at work, make certain it becomes known that you are vegetarian or vegan and politely make certain that it is not forgotten at employee dinners, holiday events at work, or potlucks. And if it is forgotten, act like a professional and remind whoever is responsible for the food that you need to be given food that you can eat given your personal beliefs (or religious)... then don't eat what they gave you--they'll remember next time that you wouldn't eat because nothing was provided for you. Stay professional and don't hold grudges, try to keep a smile on your face.



(8)traveling

- this is a very up in the air issue for me. For me, culture and respecting indigenous or native food traditions is of equal importance to me as the rights of humans or animals, it's two rights which collide in the instant of travelling to another country or region and being a stranger. I think strangers should respect their neighbors' customs. I feel very "Star Trek" about that. Even though Star Trek took place in a completely vegan society, they honored the traditions of the cultures they came across even if they didn't agree with them morally. I feel much kinship with the ethics of Star Trek, I wish they would write a book about its ethics.

- to answer the question, though, given my issue I would eat what I was given if there were no choices but take the most vegetarian choice if there were (this even includes human if I'm in a cannibal culture). Keep in mind that I wouldn't be eating at McDonalds or some fast food joint where I could get a salad if I was traveling. I would be in the heart of a people's home in some small village or historical city or such, knocking on people's door with a bottle of wine in exchange for a story.

- if you didn't have my issue, then you could say (hopefully you know the language), "I am allergic to meat and to milk and to eggs and to fish. If you have vegetables or pasta or beans or grains, I can certainly eat that, but my allergies prevent me from eating meat, milk, eggs, or fish." I would print that on a card in the local language and take it to every restaurant I ever ate in... making certain that the server took the card back to the chef so she or he could read it for her or himself. The card is very important. Perhaps have two cards, an "ALLERGY" card with foods you can't eat, and a "NOT ALLERGIC" card that has many foods you can eat.



(9) people who needle you about being vegetarian and won't stop

- This gets back to what I said before. Don't back down from how important this is to you. Being positive isn't about being disrespectful to yourself. If someone is verbally needling you about your personal beliefs, whatever they might be; if they are trying to disabuse you of your beliefs, then you turn around and you give them everything you've got. You give it with a smile and give it straight, not exaggerating, not lying, all the reasons you have for being the kind of vegetarian you are. And then you ask them, "Given that I know why I'm a vegetarian, and given that I don't insult you or your ethics, will you please stop insulting mine by belittling me?" Make certain they answer you. Depending on their answer and who you are as a person, respond as you will after that.



Jim
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#6 Old 02-27-2004, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asoka View Post

Sorry, for not giving you my question clear, here, let me take one response from Ethel to expnain what i meant:



"I think being vegan has affected some of my friendships, though not significantly.

I don't think I have lost any friends over it but it certainly has changed things.



I have several groups of friends and in one group I am the only vegan. This has caused problems with eating out as the places they all want us to go can't feed me. . . . (Many a panicked phonecall from the supermarket aisles on the Saturday to read out the list of ingredients of a sauce etc!)"

. . .

What I want to ask here is, taking the example of eating out, when you are eating out with your non-vegetarian friends, what should you do without letting them get stressed. For a non-vegetarian guy who is considering becoming a vegetarian, he may not know how to deal with those non-vegetarian friends. I hope this is clear to you. Sorry, my mother language is not English.



First off, I have to commend her friends, for they are showing utmost respect for Ethel's beliefs and that rocks! She must be special to command that respect.



My suggestion for people with friends who cook for each other is this... On a regular size 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, list on one side the majority of things you can use as ingredients in a meal, including specific brand names of common items like tomato sauce or stuffing mixes. On the the other side list the majority of things you can't have as ingredients, including things like Stearoyl Lactylate or Whey. Also provide your friends with a sheet of substitutes for non-vegan items in cooking, how to bind without eggs or color without yolks or add creaminess without milk. If you want to go the extra mile include cooking tips for the food that only a vegetarian or a gourmand discovers in EuroAmerican circles, like tofu or tempeh or nutritional yeast or agar agar or coconut milk.



Jim
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#7 Old 02-27-2004, 01:25 AM
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jimdavis...nicely done!
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#8 Old 02-27-2004, 01:42 AM
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Oh okay, I see what you are asking, asoka. Thank you for the explanation (and your English is fine by the way). I don't generally make a big deal about my veganism. When I go out to eat, I order my own meals. If someone doesn't know I'm a vegan and asks why I didn't order any meat, then I'll tell them I don't eat meat. I just address things matter-of-factly when the questions come up. I don't look down on the other people if they order meat, and I don't comment on their choice of food, I keep my thoughts to myself.
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#9 Old 02-27-2004, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by iceflower View Post

jimdavis...nicely done!

Thank you.
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#10 Old 02-27-2004, 03:06 AM
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My attitude has changed a bit on this...now I realize that we want to make it look easy, and also look like we're happy to be veg*n. For instance, when ordering at a restaurant, don't ask TOO many questions about ingredients. "Does that have bleached flour? Is that refined sugar???" Although you might get yelled at by the vegan police, I think it's better to make it seem like it's possible to live a "normal" life being vegan. Even though it's *your* choice to be strict, it may make other people not want to go veg*n because it seems really inconvenient. You'd be helping more animals by setting a good example and having other people go veg*n than by avoiding some mostly trivial ingredient. That's just using a restaurant as an example, of course. I hope that made sense. It's still kind of hard for me to not scream every time someone orders/eats meat, but I'm working on it. The fact of the matter is that I'm much happier being vegan, and I only seem pissed off because it really makes me sad thinking about all the animal suffering, but people don't really get it.

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#11 Old 02-27-2004, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asoka View Post

Thank you for all the net friends answering to my latest question, the inconveniency of being a vegetarian, which helps me a lot. Here, i would like to raise a new question:



What attitude should someone who wishes to become a vegetarian or vegan have to face

(1)family,

(2)friends,

(3)colleagues,

(4)eating out with non-vegetarian friends,

(5)marriage,

(6)making friends,

(7)job

(8)traveling

(9)others you think should include

I would like to take your viewpoint to pass to some friends who wish to become a vegetarian or vegan but don't know what positive attitude to have.



Where is the 'none of the above' selection?
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#12 Old 02-27-2004, 05:27 AM
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( those weren't choices. "have to face" should read "have, in order to face:" )
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#13 Old 02-27-2004, 05:47 AM
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If your friends are stressed about what you choose to eat, it's their problem not yours. You should not have to adjust to satisfy their needs. Remember, you are the one eating a correct and healthy diet, not them.



I can't really tell you what to do in a resturant situation as I do not frequent resturants that are not vegan or do not have strict regulations regarding the preperatiuon of their vegan menu items.
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#14 Old 02-27-2004, 06:39 AM
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JimDavis...My suggestion for people with friends who cook for each other is this... On a regular size 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, list on one side the majority of things you can use as ingredients in a meal, including specific brand names of common items like tomato sauce or stuffing mixes. On the the other side list the majority of things you can't have as ingredients, including things like Stearoyl Lactylate or Whey. Also provide your friends with a sheet of substitutes for non-vegan items in cooking, how to bind without eggs or color without yolks or add creaminess without milk. "







I think I would kind've freak my friends out if I started handing them sheets of paper of what I can and can't eat.
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#15 Old 02-27-2004, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by vegan_hottie07 View Post

I think I would kind've freak my friends out if I started handing them sheets of paper of what I can and can't eat.



Do your omni friends regularly cook for you? Ethel's friends regularly called her from the supermarket reading ingredients off of labels... I wouldn't have suggested handing them sheets of paper if they weren't already so concerned and didn't regularly cook for each other evidently.



Jim - who stops short of passing out flyers of his diet in the street
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#16 Old 02-27-2004, 02:09 PM
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I tell omnis who cook for me to make a big salad and spaghetti with tomato sauce. No muss, no fuss.



If we are b-b-qing, I just bring my own veggies or burgers for the grill.



Or I just say, "don't add butter to that package of frozen veggies and that pan of instant rice."



I don't always get the fanciest/nicest/most nourishing meals from friends and family, but it's certainly made things easier on them.
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#17 Old 02-27-2004, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by vegan_hottie07 View Post

I think I would kind've freak my friends out if I started handing them sheets of paper of what I can and can't eat.



If I weren't the one concerned about the diet, I would probably hand back the sheet and say, "You cook."
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#18 Old 02-28-2004, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by iceflower View Post

jimdavis...nicely done!



Jim:



thank you so much for such complete and precious comments.
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#19 Old 02-28-2004, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

( those weren't choices. "have to face" should read "have, in order to face:" )



Thank you for this correction
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#20 Old 02-28-2004, 10:16 AM
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(1)family-I've decided to go veg*n for the following reasons "say reasons"

(2)friends- Eating meat bothers me because "say reasons"

(3)colleagues- same as friends

(4)eating out with non-vegetarian friends- Check beforehand that there is something you can eat even if its just salad and spagetti with tomato sauce. Eat before you go. Quickly explain the situation to your friends if they ask why you arent eating.

(5)marriage- Explain as fully as possible, youre going to be living with this person for many years to come. They should know your how you feel and the rules about meat eating etc.

(6)making friends- dont mention it unless it comes up. If the issue comes up explain politely and answer questions they have. Dont walk up to people and say "Hi I'm _______ and I'm vegetarian

(7)job- dont say anyhting unless it comes up

(8)traveling- pack food in your suitcase or go to a supermarket when you get to your destination



Always offer to explain politely and answer all their questions civily.
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#21 Old 03-01-2004, 11:16 PM
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[QUOTE=misq17

Always offer to explain politely and answer all their questions civily.[/QUOTE]



Thank you and i agree with that!!
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