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#1 Old 05-28-2016, 01:35 PM
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Thoughts on exceptions ?

Hey !

I was wondering what your thoughts were on exceptions when you are on a vegetarian diet.
By exception I mean having like one piece of meat a year in a situation where you are given meat and can't really refuse. Not buying meat once in a while.

I tend to think that people go vegetarian because of their beliefs and them being enclined to make an exception is not wrong because people should do whatever they are comfortable with. But I often come across people who seem to think of vegetarianism as a sort of challenge and any piece of meat you eat is bringing your day counter back to zero.

Also do you think that if people had a perspective on vegetarianism that was less strict more people would be enclined to shift their diet ? As in it might be discouraging to some to start being vegetarian when they know they are going to have that one Christmas family dinner where they can't escape a bit of meat for instance and therefore give it up ?

I would really like to know your opinion !

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#2 Old 05-28-2016, 01:47 PM
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One piece of meat a year is better than eating it all year long, but my question would be... Why can't they refuse?

"We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form." - William Ralphe Inge

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#3 Old 05-28-2016, 02:02 PM
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Hm, I personally don't consider a vegetarian who eats a piece of meat to be an actual vegetarian. I would say a plant influenced eater, but I feel once someone makes one exception many more so easily can be done.
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#4 Old 05-28-2016, 02:06 PM
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It isn't the title, the label of 'vegetarian' or 'vegan' that matters. The Back to Day One after eating meat is bs. What matters is your own ethics, your own sense of right and wrong, and deciding that ethics don't count on Christmas.

If you decide to eat meat at Christmas dinner with your family, then they are going to think that you make exceptions to your own ethical beliefs. Do it once, and they know you don't really mean what you say. So the next Sunday dinner, Oh, have just a bit of the fried rice, there is just a bit of chicken in it. Oh, you have to try this lamb, it was so expensive and I know how you used to love it, so I got it just for you....
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#5 Old 05-28-2016, 02:06 PM
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My ex-girlfriend and I had this same problem. I simply would not have that dinner with meat... She was saying how she worked hard on it and that it was her favorite recipe in the whole wide world and that she wanted me to taste it only once -- how it was just broth and that she would remove the actual meat from the liquid. I refused. Why? Because it's who I am. We got into an argument over it, and we broke up. Do I regret it? No. It's not that I've got a "superiority complex" (quoting her) but instead I know what I want and I stand by it.

So, who are you? What do you stand for?

If you want to make that exception, do it, but do it for you, not for anybody else.
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#6 Old 05-28-2016, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by nr32 View Post
you want to make that exception, do it, but do it for you, not for anybody else.
I want to elaborate -- if you do it for your family, you're not being honest with who you are and what you stand for. If you're a vegetarian all year round, you already know what you stand for.
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#7 Old 05-28-2016, 02:38 PM
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Honestly, this whole "Can't refuse" excuse... UGH. Is anyone pointing a gun at your head? (Not exactly you, OP. There has been previous threads about the same thing).

Do not be scared of saying "No, thanks" because you might offend people. Offending people doesn't harm them. Eating that piece of meat because they really insisted harms animals.
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#8 Old 05-28-2016, 03:55 PM
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One piece of meat a year is better than eating it all year long, but my question would be... Why can't they refuse?
This.


One time at the office when lunch had been ordered in, the person ordering had not ordered anything veg*n. One of my partners asked me, "Aren't you going to eat?", and I said, "No, there's nothing that's vegetarian." He said, "Oh, go ahead and eat around the meat - just once isn't going to hurt." This particular individual is very religious, and the son of a minister. I responded, "Does that mean if you were going to commit adultery "just once", that would be O.K.?" He never again suggested that I eat "around the meat" again.
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#9 Old 05-28-2016, 06:17 PM
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I was vegetarian before vegan and would question daily if things at my work cafeteria had meat stuffs. After my first few weeks of doing great as a vegan we had our annual meeting with a buffet style line. I had a big breakfast and assumed it would be the same, with a big garden salad. Well, the chef came around the line specifically looking at me, to say she got Morningstar black bean patties for whoever wanted them. I knew they had egg, and really had a twisted moment of what to do. She had been trying harder to have veggie options at lunch, and I hadn't said anything about not eating egg or dairy to her. I thanked her and took one. I never regretted that, well I did at the moment, but that compromise was a good thing. The next day I thanked her, and included that I was looking to also leave out egg and dairy.
Refusing that food would not have been encouraging to someone who went out of their comfort zone to try something new.
That's as far as I would go, something like egg or dairy in ingredients

I could never do any kind of meat product. I never did with bugs, or intestines, brains, dog or cat meat. Same thing
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#10 Old 05-28-2016, 07:23 PM
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Vegetarian as a term can hold a substantial amount of weight and the idea of it being thrown around casually makes me very uneasy. Speaking from experience, there's something very twisted about watching someone eat a hamburger while saying they're usually a vegan. They're otherwise a huge animal lover and that just happened to be their day off. It sets a terrible example for those who might not know about what vegetarianism is.

I won't say that eating 95% vegetarian is a bad thing, in fact 100 almost vegetarians make more of an impact than 25 strict vegetarians; definitely a good thing. But if a person's intent is to reduce all animal products (save vegetarian byproducts) then to make an exception is to disregard everything that person stands for. It's not the same as accidental consumption where a person simply didn't know or maybe had a moment of carelessness or a slip-up.

Not to sound like a jerk, but Vegetarians know what happens when they order flesh... pretty hard to justify that.

Poor taste. Pun intended. lol
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#11 Old 05-28-2016, 08:03 PM
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In addition to the very good points made by others above me, I think one of the other issues with calling oneself a vegetarian and "sometimes" consuming meat, is that it sends a confusing message to non-veggies. There are already enough misconceptions about what a veg*n eats, and this is why some people think vegetarians eat chicken or fish - which can make situations awkward for people who are veg*n for ethical reasons. Technically if you eat meat once in a while, that makes you a flexitarian. Nothing wrong with that if that is your choice, but it is not the definition of a vegetarian.
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#12 Old 05-29-2016, 12:51 AM
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If you eat meat beacause you like it, you are a flexitarian or an omnivore.

My usual answer: I have never heard a convincing reason to eat meat.
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#13 Old 05-29-2016, 06:48 AM
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If you were at someones house and they offered dog meat what would be your response?
The idea that you used to eat isn't enough of an excuse. It's something you now realize is wrong on so many levels, it's the same as how you felt about foods you've never eaten.
I do feel for situations with grandparents, older loved ones who truly don't understand. I wouldn't call someone out for giving in if it was going to hurt them, even if that's totally irrational. Often we can pretend to eat things, or use sickness as an excuse
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#14 Old 05-29-2016, 08:48 AM
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This is one of those conversations that gets me a little riled up and I know I will have so many disagree with me. I am definitely growing into a more stringent mind set and may agree with all of you in the future. At this time, I still have an issue with the all or nothing attitude and this fixation on labels. I currently do not eat meat or consume dairy. I do not consider myself Vegan, but would at least say vegetarian or maybe eat a vegan diet for those that are not too hardcore about labels. I agree you should not change your values or eat anything because someone wants you to. I also think that if you do stray away from your vegetarian diet once or twice in a year for whatever reason it does not take away from you being one. Here is a stupid example, but I feel it is a fair one. If you are a recovering alcoholic and after six months you fall of the wagon and have a drink, but then start all over again and are no longer drinking are you no longer a recovering alcoholic? If you want to make a comparison and are truly into labels, then you can say that you were vegetarian before you ate that meat and now you are vegetarian X amount of days since eating that meat. Does that make sense? If there are no time limits for being a Vegetarian then the assertion that once someone eats that meat they are no longer Vegetarian does not make sense. If someone becomes a vegetarian last week, then they have been vegetarian for a week. It seems Vegetarian is a label to describe a current way of living. I know I am getting technical and probably just causing trouble. ; ) I just get a little annoyed when I hear someone say another person is not Vegetarian when they make one exception in an otherwise dedicated way of living.
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#15 Old 05-29-2016, 09:02 AM
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^I get what you're saying, and it is a question of semantics I guess. To me, saying you're vegetarian means you DON'T eat meat, your thinking of food doesn't include flesh. Like when I was omnivorous, I NEVER knowingly ate insects. If I were offered an insect I would refuse, if I were served food and there was an insect on the plate I would refuse it and ask for another.
It's more the idea of people planning exceptions that irks me. Alcoholics who say they won't drink till their next birthday certainly aren't considered recovering by AA groups! A slip is not the same as a plan
Being okay with having meat for certain occasions just seems to make being veg'n difficult, when in fact if taken seriously is not
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#16 Old 05-29-2016, 10:03 AM
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That is a great point as well. It is the same concept as someone having a goal and stopping a few days before they accomplish it and saying they could have done it but give an excuse. There is no "could have done it" and only "did it". LOL I get it. I just get a little annoyed when people are so judgmental about who is really Vegetarian and who is not. At the end of the day people are choosing to not eat meat for many reasons whether environmental, health, ethical or all of the above. I think that one day of making an exception does not wipe away all the positives that have come along before that day.
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#17 Old 05-29-2016, 10:34 AM
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I used to bring up all of the improbable uses to which animal/ products had been put to use as a way of saying that you can't truly know, and that what you believe is more or less the truth whether it is or not. A vegan, for example could not or should not drive in certain vehicles, or get in airplanes, or even walk on the roads because animal products were used in the making of those. Animal products are used in the making of rubber, the printing of books, road building, and airplane safety equipment. It becomes too hard at a point.

I personally don't agree with the "planning or exceptions" but it is better to plan an exception than backslide at every possible window of opportunity. I am also in the camp which says that even a person who eats meat once a week only is still helping lessen or eliminate the various negative effects of industrial meat on this planet. As a vegetarian, I have the guilt of supporting the dairy and egg industry. The less I do that, the better, but so far I have not been able to go vegan/ strict vegetarian for an indeterminate time.

A woman who smoked told her self that the only time she was allowed to smoke was when she was out of her home state. (She made various business trips every year so this was possible). So, 89 or 99 percent of the time, she does not smoke. It is much better for her health in the long run, and she only minimally supports big tobacco. So? This is about the same thing, and I don't think that it should be condemned. I think it was bravely posted, considering the potential for mean comments. It was an authentic question, and worth a thoughtful answer.

I would support it. 98% is better than 0% as far as I am concerned.
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#18 Old 05-29-2016, 06:21 PM
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If you are a recovering alcoholic and after six months you fall of the wagon and have a drink, but then start all over again and are no longer drinking are you no longer a recovering alcoholic?
I don't think the OP is talking about slip-ups or falling off the wagon. To fall inline with your example: if an alcoholic is sober for six months but has the calendar marked for the five days a year he can get sloppy drunk then he is not technically considered sober. All it means is that he had a lot of space between drinks.

I think these labels are necessary within reason. To use an incorrect term to describe a person is only going to tangle the definition of that word and eventually it gets to the point where it no longer has a meaning at all.
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#19 Old 05-29-2016, 08:40 PM
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BlackBoxed you responded directly to me and I did not mention the recovering alcoholic putting it on their calendar. That changes my point 100%. I was just saying that if someone who quit drinking falls of the wagon and then quits again and continues not to drink then they are a recovering alcoholic. If they were to give themselves 5 days out of the year to drink, by definition they did not quit. It really does not matter, just clarifying my point. ; ).
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#20 Old 05-29-2016, 09:05 PM
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Alcoholism is about dependence. Eating meat is about choice.

Edit: The problem with these "couldn't refuse" situations is that it will always end up being more than twice a year. Most people will have meals with their family way more than just twice a year. If they will be able to refuse all those other times, why can't they those two times a year?
Reminds of a Ted Talk I saw once with a guy that went to talk about vegetarianism. He said that when he started cutting out meat, he told himself he would only eat meat when he was eating out. As time went by, he started eating out more and more to have that excuse to eat meat.

I think that it's awesome if someone only eats meat a few times a year. WAY better than eating it twice a day. But admit that you wanted to eat it. Don't come up with those "couldn't refuse" excuses.
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#21 Old 05-29-2016, 09:13 PM
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I rather like the concept of "the Paris exemption" because it disables a lot of the excuses that meat eaters give. "I could never go vegan because I could never give up x, y or x" or "What about Christmas/weddings/traveling overseas/etc etc."

If there is a certain situation where someone things it would be prohibitively difficult (logistically or psychologically), then be vegan in every other scenario. Most of the time, I think people will eventually find that the scenario they were afraid of doesn't really bother them anymore and they can eat vegan nearly 100% of the time without much fuss. However, keeping the possibility in there that they could make an exception for a special event or a favorite food may make it easier for them to test the waters of being vegan the rest of the time.

I don't have a problem with these people calling themselves vegan (maybe "mostly vegan" would be more accurate), as long as they don't do so while eating a giant mound of bacon.
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#22 Old 05-30-2016, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by jessandreia View Post
Alcoholism is about dependence. Eating meat is about choice.

Edit:
Reminds of a Ted Talk I saw once with a guy that went to talk about vegetarianism. He said that when he started cutting out meat, he told himself he would only eat meat when he was eating out. As time went by, he started eating out more and more to have that excuse to eat meat.
Ha! I did this early on. I said to my other half that I'd just do the veggie thing at home and eat meat when we were out. Only I went the other way and ate out less and less. I really did not want to eat meat.
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#23 Old 05-30-2016, 01:14 AM
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I rather like the concept of "the Paris exemption" because it disables a lot of the excuses that meat eaters give. "I could never go vegan because I could never give up x, y or x" or "What about Christmas/weddings/traveling overseas/etc etc."

If there is a certain situation where someone things it would be prohibitively difficult (logistically or psychologically), then be vegan in every other scenario. Most of the time, I think people will eventually find that the scenario they were afraid of doesn't really bother them anymore and they can eat vegan nearly 100% of the time without much fuss. However, keeping the possibility in there that they could make an exception for a special event or a favorite food may make it easier for them to test the waters of being vegan the rest of the time.

I don't have a problem with these people calling themselves vegan (maybe "mostly vegan" would be more accurate), as long as they don't do so while eating a giant mound of bacon.
You make an excellent point.
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#24 Old 05-30-2016, 07:06 AM
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BlackBoxed you responded directly to me and I did not mention the recovering alcoholic putting it on their calendar. That changes my point 100%. I was just saying that if someone who quit drinking falls of the wagon and then quits again and continues not to drink then they are a recovering alcoholic. If they were to give themselves 5 days out of the year to drink, by definition they did not quit. It really does not matter, just clarifying my point. ; ).
I agree with your original point! I was just saying that your question didn't exactly fall in line with what I read from the OP. Two different situations, no harm meant!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessandreia View Post
Alcoholism is about dependence. Eating meat is about choice.
My example wasn't the alcoholic and the meat eater. It was the sober alcoholic and the vegetarian. Once a physical addiction leaves they're only left with the mental dependency. In this case they're both in the same boat. Both have quit the consumption of a particular ingredient for their own reasons. Both have made a promise to try their best even if they mess up. That's why I found this to be a perfect example to show the significance of making exceptions. It's not difficult for one drink to become two or three our four when you give yourself an excuse to do it.

(not debating though, just wanted to explain my reasoning.)
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#25 Old 05-30-2016, 03:47 PM
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If you eat meat beacause you like it, you are a flexitarian or an omnivore.

"I know somebody who said he was a vegetarian, but just ate meat."

My usual answer: I have never heard a convincing reason to eat meat.
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#26 Old 05-30-2016, 04:27 PM
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Yeah, I could not think of a better analogy. I was only responding to what someone said. The more I think about it if someone can be convinced to eat meat or make an exception then maybe not eating is meat is not that big of a priority. I have to admit that nobody could convince me to eat meat because it just does not sound good to me and I would not enjoy it.
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#27 Old 05-31-2016, 07:53 PM
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I run into people who identify as vegetarian, but who build in exceptions. The food editor of the Washington Post took a world of judgment from meat-eaters when he announced he had become vegetarian, and then a couple of years later took on another world of judgment when he wrote that he still considers himself vegetarian even though he sometimes eats oysters. No other fish, just oyster, and not that often. He was clear that he didn’t consider it a lapse. I know this because I took part in the barrage of online comments he had to field after the piece came out.

He didn’t feel like the alcoholic taking the drink that can easily lead to another five or twelve drinks, which can happen even after years of sobriety. He built in this exception, and said he has no plans to phase out oysters. He thinks “vegetarian” is the most accurate descriptor for him because those occasional oysters are such a minor part of his overall food intake. And he rejects the term “pescetarian” for himself because that word doesn’t convey being off all fish and all sea life except for that one bivalve.

People will do what they want, and they will call themselves whatever they want, and they think if you have a problem with that, then you’re the one with a problem. But for me, being vegetarian works only when I don’t make exceptions at all. Some of my dear family members are hyenas, and if they saw me make an exception they'd want to be my next exception, and the one after that. And most of the times I’m around them are special occasions, so in essence they would have no reason to regard me as vegetarian, or to make even the rudimentary accommodations for me that they do now. I tell them I do better with clear boundaries, and they don’t argue about it with me anymore.
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#28 Old 05-31-2016, 10:43 PM
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I think that people shouldn't be afraid to sticking to their beliefs because they're afraid of offending someone. It's your life, not theirs.
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#29 Old 06-01-2016, 09:13 AM
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You're either a vegetarian or you're not, there's no inbetweens or exceptions.
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#30 Old 06-01-2016, 11:03 AM
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You're either a vegetarian or you're not, there's no inbetweens or exceptions.
I see in-between territory in people who haven't been doing it very long, who's really only started to stop. Someone in transition, who still makes exceptions, might not ever be vegetarian in the sense you and I use the word. Or the exceptions might grow further and further apart over time until they have actually stopped. I like to give people credit for trying, but it will always be irritating to see people who identify as veg before they're done with meat. Plus, of course, there's that whole question of whether your exceptions are actual bites of meat or more hidden slaughter products that find their way into cheese, ice cream, vegetable soup, marshmallows, orange juice, and all kinds of foods that aren't meat at all. That's in-between territory, too.

I also distinguish between exceptions and lapses. A new vegetarian who has an occasional lapse during the first couple of years, that's just too common to dismiss as "not vegetarian." That's often just part of the process of getting used to a major dietary change and of learning to own their vegetarian status in front of the people they work with, socialize with, drink with. A lapse feels regrettable and wrong, something that makes you want to try harder and not screw up again, whereas an exception is something you just keep letting yourself do. Either way, if there are too many lapses or too many exceptions, they eventually pull you back to where you were before you tried to go vegetarian.

Trying is good; trying better leads to success. But people are all working from different levels of willpower, discipline, and social support. If what's easy for me is hard for you, I'm not going to shred you for struggling.
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