The Vegan Argument - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-31-2010, 09:36 PM
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I have been a vegan for roughly five days now, and I have not "come out" to my family. They took my vegetarianism (almost one year ago) pretty hard, so I'm not exactly eager to fess up... not yet. I guess my plan is to tell them once I'm a few months in. The fact that I'm not dead and that I am, in fact, in BETTER health, might aid my case. But I know I'm going to face argument. I'd be tempted to hide it forever, but I know I can't, especially when it comes time for my sister's birthday (late October) and I can't eat the cake that is laden with dairy-rich frosting. What I'm asking is for help in negotiating my argument. What questions do you anticipate they'll have for me? How did people try to deter you from veganism? How did you respond?



Example:

Question: But where do you get all of your protein?

Answer: Protein is found in so many places other than meat, from my fake chicken nuggets to those pistacios I love. It's in some breads and cereals, and lots of other foods. Check the labels on random foods in the kitchen, and you'll see what I mean.



Your help would be greatly appreciated. I need all the preparation I can get!
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#2 Old 07-31-2010, 10:38 PM
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Questions you're likely to encounter along the way/

iIn't it hard?

Isn't it expensive?

But what about vitamin B12, Vitamin D, calcium, iron...?

Will you be offended if...?

But what's wring with milk/chees/eggs/fish...?

Why not eat eggs... From my neighbors backyard chickens... He's nice to them...?

You're not one of those preachy/sensitive/strict/crazy vegans, are you?

Are you a member of PETA?

I don't have anything against vegans, I just think the ones that [fill in the blank] are stupid because [fill invtge blank]... you're not like that are you?

You know those videos are fake right?

Just don't try to convert me ok?

Do you spend all day cooking?

You know you're just a tiny drop of water in the ocean, right? You can't change anything.

How do you go out to eat?

What are you going to fo if you have kids?

Aren't those shoes leather?

But we evolved to eat meat, you know?

What about our canines?

How does it feel to be part of a dietary experiment?

Don't plants feel pain too?

Isn't a tiny bit of butter/beef stock/fish sauce etc ok? It's just a tiny bit!

Did you ask your doctor if it's ok?



I could go on...
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#3 Old 08-01-2010, 04:27 AM
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google vegan athletes. there's your proof it's healthy. There are olympians, bodybuilders, cyclists....



If they ask you where you get your [protein/calcium/iron/B12] ask them where they get theirs. The only thing they know is that they get calcium from dairy, and in reality most omnis don't get enough calcium daily anyway.

If you look at statistics, vegans have higher levels of essential nutrients per capita than the general population because we pay attention to our diet. You'll get your protein from lentils/legumes/nuts/seeds/grains/soy products.

You'll get your calcium from fortified soy milk/vegetables (yeah, its not ONLY found in dairy.)

You'll get your iron from dark greens/nuts/soy/grains, you'll make sure your absorption is better by combining these foods with high vitamin c foods (a little oj is all you need or a some fresh tomato...) You'll make sure you don't inhibit your iron uptake by not drinking tea/coffee or red wine with iron rich meals.

You'll get B12 from a supplement, nutritional yeast or a multivitamin.





Then ask them where they get their iodine, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and essential amino acids (omegas).

They won't even know they need them.



You'll get yours from various fruits and veges and flaxseed and canola oil. (look up specifics if you like, strawberries for example are very high in iodine.) You can also buy omega and iron fortified soy milk.



You'll get asked every question above and more, and not just once.







A website you'll find if you google 'vegan health' has excellent fact sheets on nutrition. print them. hand them out.
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#4 Old 08-01-2010, 04:29 AM
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You'll also have a diet with zero bad cholesterol, very little chance of heart disease and diabetes.
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#5 Old 08-01-2010, 08:42 AM
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You can be vegan and still have an incredibly unhealthy diet and do things that contribute to heart disease and diabetes. Cholesterol is just a small part of the equation.
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#6 Old 08-01-2010, 09:06 AM
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Saturated fat plays a big role in heart disease.

And exercise is incredibly important to reduce risk of disease.



So yeah, skydog is right that you can be an unhealthy vegan, but even unhealthy vegans tend to be healthier than unhealthy omnis.



As my husband puts it:

"If I eat whatever I want as an omnivore my blood serum cholesterol level is 300 and I weigh 245. If I eat whatever I want as a vegan my blood serum cholesterol is 200 and I weigh 210."



what he means is that there's still plenty of room for improvement when he's a junkfood vegan, but even his worst vegan habits aren't as bad as his old omni habits.



---

ps

Jaimie - you have a typo in your post. You wrote "essential amino acids (omegas)" but you meant essential fatty acids.



In general, vegans are indeed healthier than omnis. But that's rarely going to convince an omni who believes beef is the only source of iron and cows milk is the only source of calcium. Just tell them you're looking out for your health and you know what you're doing. After a while they'll see for themselves that you didn't fall over and die from lack of cheese.
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#7 Old 08-01-2010, 10:20 AM
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If you consume amino acids from raw fruits and vegetables, it's much easier for your body to convert/use.
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#8 Old 08-01-2010, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineVigneault' date='01 August 2010 - 10:06 AM' timestamp='1280675216' post='2681622 View Post




"If I eat whatever I want as an omnivore my blood serum cholesterol level is 300 and I weigh 245. If I eat whatever I want as a vegan my blood serum cholesterol is 200 and I weigh 210."





I weigh like 320. I've been fully vegan for six years, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and work out at least four days a week. I wouldn't use the health argument when talking to people about veganism because it obviously doesn't make everyone thinner. I focus on the animal rights stuff if I get dragged into a debate.

Tam! RUGH!
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#9 Old 08-01-2010, 11:32 AM
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Well, I've been a vegetarian nearly my whole life and a vegan for 4+ years and my blood serum cholesterol is 116. I think, given this personal experience and studies I've read, that my dietary habits have reduced my heart disease risk, as well as the risk for most vegans.



Personally, unlike my husband, my weight stays the sane no matter what diet or exercise program I use unless my goal changes. That is, I only lose weight if I try to lose weight, regardless of the types of food I eat.



However, I wasn't suggesting using "the health argument for veganism" in order to promote veganism. I am suggesting using "the health argument" to defend veganism against claims that it's unhealthy.
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#10 Old 08-01-2010, 12:09 PM
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OR, remember, no one can *make* you answer any of their questions if you honestly don't want to. You don't question them regarding their diets & demand answers (I presume), so there's no reason why you need to put up with it either. You don't have to argue or prove anything, unless you want to.
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#11 Old 08-01-2010, 12:38 PM
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They might in fact freak out, no matter how open minded you think your friends and family are. Mine did. However now, my parents have gone vegetarian, and use very little dairy/eggs. My DH can't stop complimenting me on my vegan cooking, even though he still considers himself a meat and potato guy (and yet hasn't eaten any meat and potatoes in more than a year).

No matter how much your family hassles you now, they will eventually come around and accept your veganism. And if they don't, no matter how much knowledge you spew at them, it just won't matter.
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#12 Old 08-01-2010, 02:29 PM
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Thanks to everyone for all of the useful information! Honestly, I didn't know the answer to a lot of these questions myself; all I knew was that the vegan diet is approved by the American Medical Association and that it is possible for find all of the nutrients I need in a plant-based diet. However, this information is often not enough for omnis, who have been brainwashed to believe that meat and milk are essential to human life.



It is true that I do not have to answer these questions if I choose, but I am a nineteen-year-old college student who still likes to come home (God knows why) from time to time, and I foresee myself having to justify my choice to my parents, even if I don't have to justify it to everyone else. I'm technically of age and can therefore make my own decisions (they haven't even NOTICED that I'm vegan yet - a testament to how easy it is), but the fact is, the harassment is still going to be there, and all I can do is try to combat it with info.
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#13 Old 08-01-2010, 02:40 PM
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I think it's a good thing you want to address the issues your family and close friends will have. After all most of them are questioning your choice because they care about you! Also, answering their concerns might bring light to the fact that a vegan diet is not only a morally good choice, but it's also easily doable and good for you!

Here are some vegan myths busted with proofs, links and explanations: http://www.sugarrocket.com/vegan/vegan-myths.php

and good reasons to go vegan: http://www.sugarrocket.com/vegan/why-i-am-vegan.php
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