Reasons why we are vegetarian rather than vegan - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-21-2013, 04:07 PM
 
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Hi. I'm wondering what reasons others here have for deciding to be vegetarian rather than vegan.

 

I'm asking this as a former vegan btw, working through some unresolved issues, so it's intended as an open-minded and non-judgemental discussion.

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#2 Old 11-21-2013, 05:24 PM
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I do my best to eat vegan at home, and I also use cruelty-free products. The only times I don't eat vegan is when I'm away from home and there are no vegan options. For example: I went on a trip abroad for 4 days, and two of those days I was in a building for 7 hours each day for an event. In the building they only serve pepperoni pizza (which also has cheese) and cheese pizza. The security in that building frowns upon people bringing in food from the outside and you can't get out until the event is over, so I had the cheese pizza. I know there are people who can go 7 hours without eating, but I can't; I'll pass out if I do.

This is an event that only runs twice a year and I don't go to it all the time, so I really don't have much cheese as a vegetarian.

 

I'd say the hardest part is not giving up dairy products themselves - to me anyway. I hate cow's milk, and I'm only OK with cheese on pizza and sandwiches; I hate cheese on everything else. The hardest part is how many foods have dairy in it when you think about it. With the exception of the example provided above, I never have dairy or eggs. However, once in a while I'll have foods that were made with dairy.


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#3 Old 11-22-2013, 12:35 AM
 
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That really seems like a reasonable way to be. I take it that you agree with vegan ethics, but there are sometimes competing priorities - such as health, or not fainting. I was a real hardline strict vegan, but I'm starting to see that there is wisdom in this kind of flexibility, of considering each situation as it arises. If I go back to being vegan again, I do think I'll have a similar approach.

 

The only dairy I've eaten since I stopped being vegan is yoghurt and milk, apart from a supplement. I have noticed that there are many, many products which were not an option for me as a vegan, which are now available that I allow myself dairy. No need or desire for them so far.

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#4 Old 11-22-2013, 12:56 AM
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I haven't really decided vegetarian instead of being vegan, I just see it as where I am at this point in time, on the spectrum of trying to do less harm.

A lot of the stuff I eat, wear and use is vegan.

 

But, I choose to be vegetarian and not go vegan because there are certain things I'm either not ready to give up or not ready to face.

Things I'm not ready to give up-

Wool and dairy: While I know, I KNOW, that they still have large elements of cruelty in them. Where I can, I minimise my use of those products. My partner and I eat cheese maybe once every 2 weeks. I realise that this doesn't stop the cruelty, nor does it somehow make me a 'better' person. But it's what I'm prepared to do right now.


Things I'm not ready to face-

What happens when I give something 'else' up, on top of my vegetarianism.

Until I went vegetarian, I ate WHATEVER someone put in front of me. No matter how foul, no matter how much I didn't like it, I was taught to eat what people offered. I also tend to have a huge anxiety about ordering foods.

So, vegetarianism is, at this point, a big enough hurdle.


If I were go vegan, I would need to be 100% resolute on the reasons for me or I wouldn't be able to stand up to the scrutiny of friends and family (who are good when I don't make too much fuss, but the moment I tell some family members about a great dish I made it becomes "DON'T PUSH YOUR VEGETARIAN AGENDA ONTO ME!").



Even if those issues were resolved, I'm not sure I'd call myself a vegan. There are other issues, like the whole doing away with pets that some vegans believe should happen, that I think is inherently flawed as a goal, especially as a goal thought of by people who want other people to care about animals.


Did any of that make sense?



 

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#5 Old 11-22-2013, 01:37 AM
 
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I think there tends to be an assumption that if you're vegetarian, you don't care about the cruelty in non-meat animal products and continue to gorge yourself on them.

While this is true for some, many vegetarians also do try to cut down on animal products as much as they can, and if they were living on more vegan-friendly immediate communities, I'm sure they'd go vegan without second thought.

As long as they do make an effort to fully understand the cruelty of animal products, it would be rather hypocritical of me to accuse them of being morally inconsistent, as though veganism isn't susceptible to the same problems. I wouldn't ever buy Earth Balance off the supermarket shelf, but I'm not going to kick up a fuss if a vegan cooks me a meal with it.

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#6 Old 11-22-2013, 02:02 AM
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I have been a Vegetarian for 30 years, this year, and while I agree with a lot of the vegan principles, it really

wouldn't be feasible for me to go vegan where I live -Northern Ireland.

 

After 30 years things have not improved here to any great deal and it can be difficult enough just to get a variation in Vegetarian meals when I go out, never mind Vegan! In short, I have NEVER seen a "vegan alternative" on any menu in this country.

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#7 Old 11-22-2013, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Tiger Lilly View Post
 

Even if those issues were resolved, I'm not sure I'd call myself a vegan. There are other issues, like the whole doing away with pets that some vegans believe should happen, that I think is inherently flawed as a goal, especially as a goal thought of by people who want other people to care about animals.

 

Interesting post TL.  I'm a vegan for whom it would feel wrong to have a companion animal but there are probably loads of threads about this (here's one link) so I'm not going to derail this current thread.

 

Good wishes, Leedsveg

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#8 Old 11-22-2013, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Rad14 View Post
 

I have been a Vegetarian for 30 years, this year, and while I agree with a lot of the vegan principles, it really

wouldn't be feasible for me to go vegan where I live -Northern Ireland.

 

After 30 years things have not improved here to any great deal and it can be difficult enough just to get a variation in Vegetarian meals when I go out, never mind Vegan! In short, I have NEVER seen a "vegan alternative" on any menu in this country.

Hi Rad 14. I suppose the problem in Northern Ireland for somebody thinking of setting up a business providing vegan meals would be 'How many vegan customers are there who would come to eat  vegan food if I provided it?' Could be an easy way to lose a lot of money.

 

Some years ago in Shipley (near Bradford) where I used to work, a couple opened a veggie bistro where initially, 75% of the meals were suitable for vegans. As time went on, they gradually reduced the percentage because the number of vegans they expected just wasn't coming. The owners told me of one evening where 14 vegans were booked in but never arrived, never rang up to cancel and they were left with a lot of vegan food that they'd brought in. 

 

Lv

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#9 Old 11-22-2013, 04:38 AM
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I guess for me the reasons why Im vegetarian than vegan

 

You know I want to be vegan, but living were I live, Its harder to find the foods, being vegetarian is alittle easier for me right now. But  I eventually want to become vegan.

 

Also I have not quite been able to give up cheese and eggs, and milk 

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#10 Old 11-22-2013, 06:43 AM
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I'm vegan - BUT I was vegetarian for 18 some years before that, and I agree with a lot of what was said above. Being vegetarian was a big hurdle in my ALL meat eating family - and most of my friends, so I remember thinking, geez, it would be harder to be vegan - and yes, indeed it is. My family hates vegan but were semi-receptive to veg. 

 

I was also vegetarian for so long because animal issues didn't click for me up until a few years ago. I didn't go vegetarian as an animal advocate and so eggs and dairy didn't honestly feel all that bad to me until recently. 

 

It was also really, really hard for me to decide I could give up cheese. 

 

I like being vegan better, now that I am, but it was a long struggle to get there and vegetarian was totally comfortable for me - you know, maybe that was it. I liked how I knew how to be vegetarian inside and out, but vegan seemed harder and less comfortable. 

 

 

This is a really interesting thread! I find it most interesting that where you live might have an impact on your food choices. I'm spoiled to death here in PDX with vegan food, so I forget that the where you live issue can be a real problem. I think that's good for everyone to know about. 


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#11 Old 11-22-2013, 12:43 PM
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I'm a long term vegetarian that is recently trying to eat plant based. It's not too hard when cooking from scratch at home as I'm not buying eggs or dairy products so I'm not cooking with them any more. I don't especially miss even cheese which surprised me but it's frustrating that I haven't come up with a decent substitute for pizzas or whatever - the soya cheese I found tastes like sweetened play-doh and doesn't melt so I don't suppose I'll bother with that very often :( I was very comfortable being ovo lacto vegetarian - it was pretty straightforward (although I didn't catch on to gelatine for an embarrassingly long time) so there's a lot of new research to do now and I haven't yet got my head round by-products; things like baked goods that don't list ingredients and of course there will be the issue of things that friends/family prepare which will need to be faced. Also I haven't yet decided whether to cut out honey but after researching I will be looking for locally produced at least.

 

Whatever I eat I don't think I'd be a vegan anyway as I haven't got the right mindset. I don't feel that just because an item is derived from an animal it is necessarily bad per se - for me it is the method of production that matters most. My very definitely non-vegan thing is that my work involves wool. So far I've always been happy with the information provided by my supplier and I will continue to review that just as I would have done before.

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#12 Old 11-22-2013, 01:23 PM
 
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It's interesting to read the posts here so far, to see common reasons and ways of seeing things that other vegetarians have. I think it's just a matter of time for some here do go vegan. Is anyone here willing to suggest an ethical case for vegetarianism rather than veganism? There is one that's an implicit common theme in this thread so far: agreement with the vegan position, yet not adopting it due to competing interests. I think it's a matter of placing things into perspective.

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#13 Old 11-22-2013, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leedsveg View Post
 

Interesting post TL.  I'm a vegan for whom it would feel wrong to have a companion animal but there are probably loads of threads about this (here's one link) so I'm not going to derail this current thread.

 

Good wishes, Leedsveg


Let's start a fight in Compost Heap! :P
 

 

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It's interesting to read the posts here so far, to see common reasons and ways of seeing things that other vegetarians have. I think it's just a matter of time for some here do go vegan. Is anyone here willing to suggest an ethical case for vegetarianism rather than veganism? There is one that's an implicit common theme in this thread so far: agreement with the vegan position, yet not adopting it due to competing interests. I think it's a matter of placing things into perspective.


An ethical case for vegetarian over vegan? Oooooh, that's playing with fire. I might include that in the Compost Heap fight that Leedsveg has inadvertently inspired me to create :P


I know it's not a new thing to think, but Dr Melanie Joy once said that it's easier to get someone to go from carnist to vegetarian, then vegan, than to go from carnist straight to vegan. Some manage to (and that's awesome) but the social pressures and the internal conflicts about the whole thing, just don't allow it for most.










 

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#14 Old 11-22-2013, 04:05 PM
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Just as a reminder, vegan v. vegetarian threads are strongly discouraged, even in the heap.

They usually divide the board and create bad feelings all around.
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#15 Old 11-22-2013, 04:13 PM
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Just as a reminder, vegan v. vegetarian threads are strongly discouraged, even in the heap.

They usually divide the board and create bad feelings all around.

I'm a member of both the UK Veggie and Vegan Societies. I refuse to fight with myself.

 

Lv

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#16 Old 11-22-2013, 04:36 PM
 
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I'd really just like to be able to share views here without conflict.

 

Although I'm new here myself, I think it's important to remind everyone that this is a support forum. We should feel free and comfortable enough here to be open, honest, and vulnerable without threat of attack, negative judgement, or ridicule. Vegans, please control your words as well as you control your diet, to avoid doing more harm than good.

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#17 Old 11-22-2013, 04:42 PM
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I'd really just like to be able to share views here without conflict.

Although I'm new here myself, I think it's important to remind everyone that this is a support forum. We should feel free and comfortable enough here to be open, honest, and vulnerable without threat of attack, negative judgement, or ridicule. I should note to any vegans itching for an argument that the disturbing characteristics of some vegans I've met this year influenced my decision to change from vegan to vegetarian. Vegans, please control your words as well as you control your diet, to avoid doing more harm than good.

Thank you for posting this, and you're 100% correct.
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#18 Old 11-22-2013, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Hann View Post
 

I'd really just like to be able to share views here without conflict.

 

Although I'm new here myself, I think it's important to remind everyone that this is a support forum. We should feel freearrow-10x10.png and comfortable enough here to be open, honest, and vulnerable without threat of attack, negative judgement, or ridicule. I should note to any vegans itching for an argument that the disturbing characteristics of some vegans I've met this year influenced my decision to change from vegan to vegetarian. Vegans, please control your words as well as you control your diet, to avoid doing more harm than good.

You shouldn't have let other not-so-nice vegans influence your decision - it's no different than people who eat meat saying they won't stop because of a few vegetarians. However, I agree with you. I totally agree with vegan ethics and love what vegans stand for, but I've seen a few of them having too much of an "all or nothing" approach and going against vegetarianism and vegetarians. A while ago I "liked" this one Animal Rights Media page on Facebook. I loved the page - great pictures about veganism, and information, but recently the person behind it and a few people who'd comment and post on that page started having that "all or nothing" approach, and bashing vegetarians. I had to unlike the page.

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#19 Old 11-22-2013, 05:33 PM
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Enough. This is the vegetarian support forum. Any anti-vegetarian posts will not be tolerated. Vegans have their own support forum to be free from vegetarians antagonizing them. All anti-vegetarian and borderline personal attacks have been deleted.

This thread is for vegetarians who were once vegan to discuss what made them switch. It is not and will not become an attack thread. If you are a vegan visiting here your only role is to be supportive.

Please keep it on topic.
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#20 Old 11-22-2013, 06:14 PM
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I'm a vegetarian who's dabbled with a plant-based diet. Right now, my life just doesn't include 100% vegan at the moment. I do try to make vegan whenever possible, but if something has eggs, cheese, milk, etc. I'm not going to throw a tizzy over it.


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#21 Old 11-22-2013, 07:32 PM
 
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Thanks River. I hope the full range of vegetarian positions is covered here, whether or not we've been vegan before. These personal thoughts just won't be expressed on a forum like this where there are such strongly held positions, unless there's good moderation, so it's much appreciated. :) It would be good to discuss differences of opinion with vegans elsewhere, on other threads outside the vegetarian support forum, if this can be done in a mutually respectful way.

 

@ JessAndreia, the influence of other vegans on my decision to go vegetarian was not about anything they did that was wrong, and I agree that if that was the case, it wouldn't make sense or be justified.It was more about certain ways of thinking that I wanted to avoid in myself. The influence was more in the way that they set off a chain of thoughts and caused me to be more self-critical and questioning of my convictions. I'll post more about that later, maybe on another thread - (I need to pop out to do some shopping now :) ).

 

@ Purp  I think you have a healthy and balanced perspective on things. Even though you "dabbled", it's not an unreasonable position imo. I used to be the type who did throw a tizzy, or rather, just wouldn't touch anything which contained even a possibility of a trace of any animal product. It was as though someone told me that they may have picked their nose while preparing it. It's funny how with different viewpoint I'm even eating whole eggs now. I still can't drink a full glass of milk though - it's like a glass of someone else's saliva - but not so yuck in tea or museli -- almost as nice as soy!

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#22 Old 11-22-2013, 07:40 PM
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As my name indicates, I am vegan but I was also vegetarian for 5 years. It took me over a year to become vegetarian at that. I think we all have our own path to follow and any step toward compassion should be praised. I truly believe we can respectfully disagree on things without being disrespectful and I endeavour to do so.

 

I support anyone who is making compassionate choices and think vegetarianism is a beautiful act of compassion :)

 

Just wanted to send my love (and cookies if I could!)

 

 

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#23 Old 11-22-2013, 08:16 PM
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I deleted the thing I put on Compost Heap, I don't really want to start any problems.

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#24 Old 11-22-2013, 08:26 PM
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VT you've presented yourself as friendly but your post is either ignoring the topic and purpose of this thread, or just snide. Nice to meet you :(

 

I certainly was not being snide in any way, I assure you, I was offering support to those who are vegetarian. I was trying to point out that when I was vegetarian for 5 years, I chose that over veganism and had no issues with it at all. We all choose how far we go with animal welfare at any given time so it isn't really about one over the other.

 

My husband was vegetarian, then vegan, then back to vegetarian then back to vegan. It's not a matter one is "better" than the other since we all do what we can where we are in life.  You had mentioned that you were trying to work through unresolved issues so I was offering you support.

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#25 Old 11-22-2013, 08:35 PM
 
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Ohhhhh this is so relevant to the post I just posted in 'General Health'... thankyou! *reads*

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#26 Old 11-22-2013, 11:49 PM
 
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Before I leave, I'll answer the question of the OP myself -- since other vegetarians have kindly shared it's the polite thing to do.

 

I was vegetarian for about 4 years before I went vegan. I didn't find it difficult, since I lost appetite for all dairy and eggs as soon as I realised the exploitation and cruelty involved. I went vegan virtually overnight, and remained so for over a decade, until this month. I have a diagnosed medical condition, which I don't really want to disclose on the internet, and symptoms became increasingly serious. I noticed that after eating soy symptoms would flare up. I don't know why they did, but I suspected that maybe it was the phytoestrogens. Eliminating soy from my diet made a big difference, and things significantly improved, but not enough. In desperation I tried a supplement containing dairy milk protein, the first animal product I had knowingly taken since I became vegan, and this seemed to make a dramatic improvement. With much inner conflict and torment, I decided that I could do more good in the world as a healthy person than a sick martyr unable to function. I don't know why eliminating soy and introducing dairy helped, but it very much seemed to. My vegan diet did have room for improvement, and I've been under stress. Maybe a vegan solution could be found.

 

To return to being vegan, I'd need to:

(1) Find a vegan solution to my health problem.

(2) Resolve my doubts regarding the ethical obligation to be vegan rather than "just" vegetarian.

 

To achieve (2), first it's necessary to develop the strongest possible case to the contrary, then to see whether it holds water. Otherwise it would be a "straw man" and a false win for the vegan case. (I'm drawing from John Stewart Mill's On Liberty by the way). I was hoping that this thread to help with this, and that it would be a beneficial discussion for other vegetarians too. Vegans wouldn't be needed for this unless they had contributions to the case against (2), which I'd have been happy to receive. Once the strongest possible case is established, then it would be time to test whether it holds water. That would have been the right time to debate the vegans.

 

Anyway, I have decided after the last little incident here that this forum is not the right place for me to be working though all of this. I'm too sensitive, I want people to like me, yet I'm challenging their moral beliefs, and I appear to be taking a step away from compassion. This place is probably great for those moving in one direction, but not so much for the other. It's making me feel negative emotions towards vegans, which may create yet another obstacle to getting back on track as a vegan. I better stay away from VB to maintain my positivity towards vegans and veganism.

 

Thank you sincerely to the vegetarian contributors to this thread, and goodbye. <3

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#27 Old 11-23-2013, 01:01 AM
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Hann, sorry to hear that the forum is not the place for you at this time.  I didn't see any of the deleted comments so not sure what went on here.  

 

I hope your recent experiences don't lead you to stereotype the vegan members on VB as that would be very unfair.  I wish you all the best and hope you can work through whatever health and moral issues you are having regarding your diet.

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#28 Old 11-23-2013, 04:29 AM
 
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Thanks QV. You and several others have been unambiguously kind to me here, which helps me to avoid forming negative stereotypes. The moderators have been excellent too, and even though I didn't agree with a reprimand I was given, I appreciate that their vigilance is necessary for a place like this to function well. Internet forums generally tend to bring out the same sorts of problems due to human nature. I do think the people here, including the vegans, are probably genuinely nice normally.

 

I arrived here open to being helped back on track. Now I don't know what to do, who to talk to.

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#29 Old 11-23-2013, 04:52 AM
 
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Yingchen, I just found a long post of yours in my email which isn't here.This was not meant to be a debate. It's a support forum, and I was trying to find out the reasons other vegetarians aren't vegan. That's all. Debate is helpful sometimes, but not here.

 

You made some useful comments. I accept your criticism that when I asked vegans to stop I could have done it more diplomatically and choosing my words in such a way so that it would be impossible to construe them as you have. I didn't then realise that the nature of the culture here required me to be so cautious, and I was upset at the time about previous remarks. Nevertheless, I appreciate you pointing this out to me as it enables me to learn and improve my conduct in the future.

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#30 Old 11-23-2013, 05:22 AM
 
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This forum blows my mind sometimes!
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