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ModVegan 03-06-2016 10:02 PM

Vegan or plant-based
 
This is a question of semantics.

So, I'm an ethical vegan. To clarify, I don't eat animal products, including honey, and I don't buy non-vegan clothing, etc., though I still wear some things I bought before going vegan.

I've been using the phrases "plant-based" and "vegan" interchangeably to describe my diet. But after reading some comments about "plant-based" eaters that made it sound like they weren't vegan, I've been trying to understand if they are universally accepted as different. For example, I saw an article on the Happy Herbivore that made it sound as if "plant-based" meant consuming no animal products, but that those people still wear animal products, etc.

My basic question is, if I say my diet is plant-based, will vegans assume I mean that I'm not an ethical vegan?

Thanks!

veggiekisses 03-06-2016 11:36 PM

To my understanding, plant-based means simply that your diet consists only of plants. It has nothing to do with other things such as clothing. Being vegan means you do eat a plant-based diet, but usually when describing my diet to others I will say vegan. If they don't know what that means then I say plant-based.

To be honest, when I see someone say plant-based I almost always assume they just have a plant-based diet but don't live a vegan lifestyle. I guess I just feel like they specifically said plant-based and not vegan for a reason. I'm also interested to see how other vegans feel. I do use them interchangeably when referring to the food I'm eating though.

LedBoots 03-07-2016 01:09 AM

I say either "strict vegetarian" or "vegan" usually. "Plant based' is a newer term to me, so I figure most people won't know what I'm talking about. I think people started saying it because of the dickishness of people when the word "vegan" comes up.

Naturebound 03-07-2016 02:23 AM

I always use the term vegan to describe myself. I know some people are "offended" by that term so some vegans will use "plant based" instead when asked to avoid confrontation, and some health food gurus want to keep the focus away from the politics and ethics of veganism and focus on the food/health aspect so they will not use the term vegan. Dr. Colin Campbell I believe is one. And some people really do only eat plant based but still use animal products in other regards. I prefer to use "vegan" because it means so much more to me than simply eating plant based and I want to be clear about that and not redefine what vegan means.

Spudulika 03-07-2016 02:49 AM

I think "plant-based" came in with the slew of US based MD's who have been promoting a "strict vegetarian" (animal product free) version of a "whole food" (typically unrefined, natural foods) diet in recent years, especially since the China Study and it's sister publication Forks Over Knives came out.

I believe it originates from the longer phrase "Whole Foods Plant Based" which you will often hear mentioned by MD's such as Dr.s Campbell and McDougal et al.

Without the whole foods element, then "plant based" is essentially the same as "strict vegetarianism", ie: it's a diet that excludes all forms of animal flesh and bi-products, but which may not necessarily also include the philosophical and lifestyle elements necessary to Veganism.

ModVegan 03-07-2016 06:53 AM

Your replies are very helpful! I do recall that T. Colin Campbell makes a pretty big deal about being WFPB, not vegan. I generally say plant based because writing "vegan" over and over again seems boring.

But, it also might not be that accurate for me to say I'm plant-based! I don't strictly follow the kind of whole foods, plant-based diet that "Forks Over Knives" and The China Study recommend. For example, I eat seed oils and I'm not afraid to use white flour (horrors!). I love my coconut yogurt and vegan margarine. Since I'm an ethical vegan, the health effects are a bonus, so I'm not really obsessed with following the perfect diet.

ModVegan 03-07-2016 06:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spudulika (Post 3928569)
I think "plant-based" came in with the slew of US based MD's who have been promoting a "strict vegetarian" (animal product free) version of a "whole food" (typically unrefined, natural foods) diet in recent years, especially since the China Study and it's sister publication Forks Over Knives came out.

I believe it originates from the longer phrase "Whole Foods Plant Based" which you will often hear mentioned by MD's such as Dr.s Campbell and McDougal et al.

Without the whole foods element, then "plant based" is essentially the same as "strict vegetarianism", ie: it's a diet that excludes all forms of animal flesh and bi-products, but which may not necessarily also include the philosophical and lifestyle elements necessary to Veganism.

! I didn't realize being a strict vegetarian didn't encompass the ethics, etc. I always assumed "strict vegetarians" didn't wear animal products (otherwise, how can they describe themselves as "strict"?). I thought that maybe they ate honey or something, so they didn't say vegan. So much to learn!

ModVegan 03-07-2016 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naturebound (Post 3928537)
I always use the term vegan to describe myself. I know some people are "offended" by that term so some vegans will use "plant based" instead when asked to avoid confrontation, and some health food gurus want to keep the focus away from the politics and ethics of veganism and focus on the food/health aspect so they will not use the term vegan. Dr. Colin Campbell I believe is one. And some people really do only eat plant based but still use animal products in other regards. I prefer to use "vegan" because it means so much more to me than simply eating plant based and I want to be clear about that and not redefine what vegan means.

I never thought about using the term to soften the blow of veganism for people ;)

I like the term vegan, although I do avoid saying it. I usually say I don't eat animal products, but that leads to questions like "but do you eat fish?"(like fish aren't animals). To be honest, I'm still not all that comfortable talking about being vegan, even with vegetarian friends, because they think I'm an extremist for avoiding all animal products. One of my best friends, who is a vegetarian, thinks I'm slightly nuts for not eating honey. It's seems so strange and weak when I really think about it- why am I embarrassed about living my values?

Spudulika 03-07-2016 08:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ModVegan (Post 3928665)
! I didn't realize being a strict vegetarian didn't encompass the ethics, etc. I always assumed "strict vegetarians" didn't wear animal products (otherwise, how can they describe themselves as "strict"?). I thought that maybe they ate honey or something, so they didn't say vegan. So much to learn!

I think before veganism as a philosophy and lifestyle became so prominent (indeed arguably the default today), dietary vegetarianism was very often conflated with ethical vegetarianism.

All of my long-term vegetarian friends (maybe a dozen, not a huge amount but enough to warrant consideration) became vegetarian because they wanted to abstain from animal exploitation and boycott the meat industry. And yet the other aspects of exploitation covered by veganism, wasn't as strongly promoted as a part of the vegetarian lifestyle (non-leather wearing, cruelty-free toiletries, avoiding zoos and animal entertainments etc.) as it has been in more recent years with the influx of information from the internet and the impact of prominent modern activists.

So if I think about the people I know who are vegetarian for ethical reasons some of them still wear leather shoes, some don't. Some avoid animal byproducts (eg: rennet), others don't. Some will wear second hand leather but not new etc.

There were no clear cut boundaries nor was there a commonly accepted consensus regarding what comprised an "ethical vegetarian lifestyle" when I was younger, it seemed that each person determined what mattered to them or what they felt they could achieve and maintain. There was no strict code of behaviour, beyond not eating meat. Now veganism is the default and as a philosophy rather than primarily a diet, the rules and codes of conduct that extend beyond diet, are much clearer and crisper.

More latterly, the divide between ethical and dietary forms of vegetarianism has oddly both increased and decreased with the advent of the WFPB movement. Although unlike ethically motivated vegetarian diets (as I've described above) WFPB is literally just a health diet without any broader ethical or environmental considerations (and one that's become very successful at that), there are still a lot of people who have come to the ethical and philosophical aspects of veganism directly via the plant-based dietary movement - so I think this is where you may find the boundaries blurring between "plant-based" and "vegan".

Also veganism as a movement has literally exploded in my lifetime. Twenty years ago it was a fringe thing, an 'extreme' form of vegetarianism. The consequence of this is that it's far easier to maintain a vegan diet and lifestyle than it was twenty years ago. Vegan food is everywhere, information on how to do it is everywhere, as are the guidelines on exactly what is required to be "a vegan" as opposed to just "a vegetarian" (even a strict vegetarian).

vegetaliano 03-07-2016 08:49 AM

"Vegan food is everywhere, information on how to do it is everywhere, as are the guidelines on exactly what is required to be "a vegan" as opposed to just "a vegetarian" (even a strict vegetarian)."
It may be everywhere in North America, but in rural France, where I live now, there are VERY few vegans, and the distinction between "ethical" and other is irrelevant. I understand the point you're going for, but those of us in France who are vegan, it's still a real fight to be accepted, and vegan food is still hard to get outside Paris and Lyon. Just thought a European perspective may help put your concerns in context.

Spudulika 03-07-2016 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vegetaliano (Post 3928721)
"Vegan food is everywhere, information on how to do it is everywhere, as are the guidelines on exactly what is required to be "a vegan" as opposed to just "a vegetarian" (even a strict vegetarian)."
It may be everywhere in North America, but in rural France, where I live now, there are VERY few vegans, and the distinction between "ethical" and other is irrelevant. I understand the point you're going for, but those of us in France who are vegan, it's still a real fight to be accepted, and vegan food is still hard to get outside Paris and Lyon. Just thought a European perspective may help put your concerns in context.

Just to clarify, I'm commenting on my experience in the UK; but otherwise your point about Europe and other parts of the world is a good one.

ModVegan 03-07-2016 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vegetaliano (Post 3928721)
"Vegan food is everywhere, information on how to do it is everywhere, as are the guidelines on exactly what is required to be "a vegan" as opposed to just "a vegetarian" (even a strict vegetarian)."
It may be everywhere in North America, but in rural France, where I live now, there are VERY few vegans, and the distinction between "ethical" and other is irrelevant. I understand the point you're going for, but those of us in France who are vegan, it's still a real fight to be accepted, and vegan food is still hard to get outside Paris and Lyon. Just thought a European perspective may help put your concerns in context.

That makes a lot of sense! In latin america, even being vegetarian is considered extremely odd. I think anyone in a latin country will have a more difficult time, because people seem to take your food choices more personally. I can't explain to my south american mother in law that my kids are not baptized, let alone that they're vegetarians!

The vegan/plant based distinction is something that I literally just encountered, hence my initial question ;)

vegetaliano 03-08-2016 10:24 AM

vegan or plant-based
 
Hi Modvegan


I meaned no disrespect, it's just that some countries are still a bit "meat-biased" and France is up there. However, I think the number of vegans here (15-30 year olds especially) is growing fast, so for older vegans like me (64 this year: "will you still feed me..") it's a good feeling! Your question is good, and maybe "plant-based" is a less prejudice-bound term for our way of eating?

silva 03-08-2016 05:42 PM

I wish more people would use plant based. It refers to diet only.
I've had people tell me their parents or others they know follow vegan diets by their doctors orders- occasional salmon, nothing to do with ethics. Arguing against a doctors words is nearly impossible!

I take plant based as a diet only, although it can be easier to say that if needed and avoid the defensive arguements that vegan word can invoke!
I think I'll say plant based for restaurants, that can seem more health associated and more likely to be taken seriously

ModVegan 03-09-2016 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silva (Post 3930105)
I wish more people would use plant based. It refers to diet only.
I've had people tell me their parents or others they know follow vegan diets by their doctors orders- occasional salmon, nothing to do with ethics. Arguing against a doctors words is nearly impossible!

I take plant based as a diet only, although it can be easier to say that if needed and avoid the defensive arguements that vegan word can invoke!
I think I'll say plant based for restaurants, that can seem more health associated and more likely to be taken seriously

Haha, I saw someone commenting the other day (I can't remember where) that they never ate animals - only fish and chicken. (Birds and fish weren't vegetation, last time I checked!). Anyway, people can be so confusing when they describe their eating habits. There was an article in the Daily Beast last October that stated that, on average, Vegetarians eat a serving of meat per day. The author says it makes sense that people who follow a vegetarian or plant-based diet for health reasons, tend to let their "diet" slide on occasion.

I guess it makes sense for plant-based vegans etc., but what I found truly shocking was that the author said he was an ethical vegan, who ate meat "exclusively when drunk." Huh? I don't understand how anyone could be so drunk they start eating meat and don't realize it - or do and simply don't care (Bill Maher said something similar on his show the other day - that he didn't eat meat except when he was drunk).

It seems like an incredibly lame excuse. If someone got wasted and ate a human being, I don't think the courts would consider that a valid excuse. How can someone say they're an ethical vegan and then eat meat when drunk? It baffles me. Of course, it also means that the number of true vegans is probably way lower than previously thought.

Auxin 03-09-2016 03:00 PM

Drinking is well known to promote people to do unwise things and to lower their defenses and power of will, thats why so many religions advise against it. It dulls the mind and causes heedlessness, especially in excess (where the fun is, lol)

When talking about diet alone I also prefer 'plant based' over 'vegan' if those are the only two options. Plant based seems a bit more loose tho, as said above its a term mostly promulgated by MDs, those same MDs tell people it doesnt have to be absolute- that cheating a few times a year is ok if the diet is maintained 99% the time. That sort of makes sense with the term, I mean if I make a 'potato based' curry its not exclusively potatoes!
I dont know what the problem with 'strict vegetarian' is, tho. Its a well established term that refers to the diet of vegans and with a careful vocal inflection or a well chosen facial expression I can conveniently give it a double meaning.
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a2...ir_/Whip-2.gif

nezhawolter 03-10-2016 01:06 AM

I like to be a vegan,

Enthios 03-10-2016 04:29 AM

I have been told on this forum that a dietary vegan is actually not a vegan. But plant based. It was aggressively asserted to me in a way that was offensively imposing. Care to try to smooth things out?

silva 03-10-2016 06:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Enthios (Post 3931225)
I have been told on this forum that a dietary vegan is actually not a vegan. But plant based. It was aggressively asserted to me in a way that was offensively imposing. Care to try to smooth things out?

If by "smooth things out' you mean clarify the distinctions between being vegan and having a plant based diet, sure--

A vegan diet is plant based. Diet is but one criteria for being vegan. Being vegan involves avoiding the exploitation of animals on every level-clothing, testing, entertainment...
People who follow plant based diets are also known as strict vegetarians.

I believe VB has these definitions on the user page, I will check later, if not, I will have them updated as these discussions have never ended well.

Much like vegetarians aren't all Seventh day adventists

Enthios 03-10-2016 07:56 AM

I've been told on this forum that dietary vegans actually aren't vegan.

silva 03-10-2016 08:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Enthios (Post 3931281)
I've been told on this forum that dietary vegans actually aren't vegan.

See above.
A plant based diet is only a part of being vegan. Diet alone does not make someone vegan

Enthios 03-10-2016 08:57 AM

The definition - Dietary Vegan - can mean - not a vegan. That is amazing. Truly.

silva 03-10-2016 09:39 AM

@Enthios --
All Catholics are Christian, all Christians are not Catholic---
Does this fact also amaze you?

Spudulika 03-10-2016 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Enthios (Post 3931321)
The definition - Dietary Vegan - can mean - not a vegan. That is amazing. Truly.

There's no such thing as a 'dietary vegan' really. It's a bit like calling a person a "dietary Hindu" because they eat Indian food but they don't practice Hinduism.

It's a term the media have concocted because they don't really know what to call vegetarians who exclude eggs and cheese (although there is actually a long standing term for this, it's "strict vegetarian").

LedBoots 03-10-2016 09:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spudulika (Post 3931345)
There's no such thing as a 'dietary vegan' really. It's a bit like calling a person a "dietary Hindu" because they eat Indian food but they don't practice Hinduism.

It's a term the media have concocted because they don't really know what to call vegetarians who exclude eat eggs and cheese (although there is actually a long standing term for this, it's "strict vegetarian").

Diet gurus and doctors who are promoting plant based diets say "vegan", and so does the media. "Bill Clinton's a vegan" "Beyonce goes vegan" {wearing furrrrrrr) etc. Very confusing, but I'm glad more people are cutting down/cutting out meat eating. Actions are more important than labels.

Vegan means avoiding exploitation and killing of animals. If a dietary vegan wants to call himself vegan, fine, but he isn't vegan. He does the big part of not eating animals, very huge! But some of the other stuff: wool, leather, and fur also hurt animals. So, what do we say? Yay to plant based eating, and more yay to veganism.

Auxin 03-10-2016 10:32 AM

To put it in different terms.
Veganism is exclusively a philosophy, the dietary effect is simply a product of that philosophy. An effect, not a cause.
So if one adopts the diet alone it, by definition, is not vegan.

I like crackers.
Catholics eat little crackers (communion wafers) as a product of their philosophy.
Does eating a cracker, alone, make me a catholic? I quite distinctly doubt it ;)

Joan Kennedy 03-10-2016 11:46 AM

Just as there is more to veganism than diet, there is more to food ethics than concern for animal rights. As far as I'm concerned, lifestyle vegans and dietary vegans might as well share the Vee word. We're all equally odd and annoying for omnivore dinner hosts to deal with. And we're all on the verge of starving our kittens and our babies.

Enthios 03-10-2016 12:49 PM

Just sticking to a (dietary) vegan diet is a very ethically related activity. When a person adopts such a diet, they are usually on the path of learning and progression that leads further toward ethical lifestyle. It is good to help such persons along the path of learning but it does not serve a productive purpose to tell these people who are doing such a good thing and defining their dietary status as vegan, that they are not vegan... but expected to call themselves plant based or something else. And in the real world that probably rarely happens. And here on a vegan forum we should be conscious of the best way of relating to people who are doing the awesome work of eating a dietary vegan diet... Educate and encourage. Be kind and respectful. Not... expect people who are on the path of learning to think they are not vegan but plant based which only a few people know the meaning of. ... But most people in most populations do recognize a vegan as someone who consumes a dietary vegan diet.
Stretch the philosophical aspects of vegan to a greater intelligent support method. Please refrain from discouragement, rejection, and non-acceptance. Doing that you aren't a vegan thing to these great people on the path is not constructive. Encouragement and education is. There is a problem in eccentrics. ...Be it patriotism, religious or vegan eccentrics.

Dave in MPLS 03-10-2016 01:30 PM

Quote:

And we're all on the verge of starving our kittens and our babies.
And 98 pound weaklings who are just moments away from death due to a severe Big Mac deficiency :)

---------

I went vegetarian in '89. I joined my first real animal rights organization with a brick-and-mortar office and everything in 1991 (before then I was in student groups). We were all ethical vegetarians. That was expected of us. Not required, but expected. We didn't wear animal skins. We went out of our way to find personal products that hadn't been tested on animals. We were bemused then (as I am now) by all the stories we heard about leather-clad vegetarians. We'd clarify - we're ethical vegetarians. We don't do that. To no avail. The imaginary leather veg in their heads was more real to them than the real-life ethical vegetarian standing in front of them. The fantasy confirmed what they wanted or needed to believe - that they don't need to concern themselves with this because the person raising the issue is a hypocrite.

------------

Answering the question now, I think it's mostly a contextual choice. 'Plant based' has advantageous if you're looking for a 'healthier' meal option when ordering a meal, plus it allows you to avoid having to talk about ethical stances you may not agree with.

ModVegan 03-10-2016 09:09 PM

So many great answers!

Labels can be helpful and harmful. Unfortunately, the can also be useless, as in the case of meat-eating vegetarians and "veggans" who ruin it for the rest of us!

A close friend of mine has been vegetarian for almost her entire life, but defends the Canadian seal hunt as an ecological necessity (also coyote fur!!!). She believes in these things because she knows many people who rely on the hunt for income. It's obviously wrong, but her emotions clearly cloud her judgement. She wears leather, of course, and thinks I'm slightly insane for not eating honey.

Personally, I believe ethical veganism is the only position that makes sense - everything else seems completely hypocritical. But others don't always see it that way. I guess it's our responsibility to gently remind them of the inconsistencies, but it can seem sadly unproductive at times.

Jenn2 03-10-2016 09:21 PM

I think I understand where Enthios is coming from...to take that label away from people who put so much effort into it could make them feel like their identity is stripped from them, or at least that's how I would feel. It's an identity thing for some of us. I identify with the vegan philosophy, and aim to live the lifestyle, but maybe I'll be perpetually 'in transition to vegan' because I'm always learning more about it.

karenlovessnow 03-11-2016 12:57 AM

Vegan or plant-based
 
I'm not sure I'm following. If someone says, "I follow a vegan diet" or "I eat a plant based diet", that's not the same thing? The vegan diet person is not saying "they are a vegan", just that their diet is. It seems like it would be the same thing with the exception of their reasons for doing so. I would take it to mean the vegan diet person might be doing it for more ethical reasons whereas the plant based diet person is more for health reasons. Would this be accurate?


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SteveW 03-11-2016 04:25 AM

Like many have said it's only a label, I hate the fact we're called vegans based on the fact that we DONT do something. Seems crazy, however, I think using the word vegan as much as possible is helpful in terms of activism. If people keep hearing about it or see it appearing in their social media then it's only going to develop interest and curiosity.

Joan Kennedy 03-11-2016 05:15 AM

I hate, hate, hate it when people describe themselves as "ethical vegans" when they mean they are animal rights vegans as distinct from health vegans or environmental vegans or strict vegetarians or slacker lapse-prone vegetarians.

I don't often cross-post, but I've gone into some detail in other posts about how the ethics of following a vegan diet encompass many, many other things besides animal rights:

There is the reduction of your carbon footprint, there's giving a break to whichever watershed would have been receiving the manure of the chickens and hogs and cattle that aren't being raised for you. There's the health of everyone you cook for if you're calling the shots in your kitchen, and the health of everyone within your sphere of influence. And if you're a health food writer, your sphere of influence can be extremely wide. There's not overtaxing your health care system and disability payment system with all your preventable chronic conditions. There's healing your own heart and getting off the transplant list, as a man in South Bend recently did, saving not only yourself but the patient who gets the heart you would've needed. There's the ethic of eating simply and wasting less so there will be more food to go around, an ethical countermeasure to global food shortage. Applying ethical principles to your food choices impacts not just the animals in the food industry, but everyone and everything on Earth. Good-hearted, intelligent animal rights vegans would never dream of bogarting the "ethical vegan" tiara.

If you combined all the animals used, hurt and killed in the fur trade, zoos, rodeos, puppy mills, military combat, police work, cart pulling, big game hunting, dogfighting rings, circuses, racing circuits and research laboratories, they would be a drop in the ocean of animals bred and fished for slaughter. Animal agriculture is hands-down the mother lode of animal abuse. Cutting out consumption of meat, dairy and eggs does 99 percent as much good as that plus taking on the rest of the vegan lifestyle. Health vegans and environmental vegans are ethical vegans too, no matter what they're wearing on their feet.

terra biped 03-11-2016 08:04 AM

Who is to say what someone else means when they use vegan as an adjective to describe their diet? I think we over think these word choices. We think if we use just the right words to describe ourselves, other people will instantly get us, but I don't think that's the case. If you want someone to know what kind of vegan you are, just tell them in sentences. On the other hand, if you are just trying to communicate to a food server what your food preferences are, using vegan as an adjective (i.e. do you have any vegan entrees) works just fine.

Spudulika 03-11-2016 09:32 AM

I think there are some interesting points being made here. With reference to possibly alienating those who may feel they've made a great change and could be motivated to do more if they felt 'included' as a part of the vegan community rather than 'rejected' I guess it's worth considering what really matters?

Is it effective advocacy to 'exclude' those who may have adopted a 'plant based diet' but not yet caught on with the philosophy of veganism, or is it more effective to embrace them and welcome them as fellow vegans at an initial stage of veganism? Bearing in mind these people will be Googling for 'vegan' and exposing themselves to so much more information than if they were just searching for 'plant based'.

There's something I vaguely recall from possibly some relationship counselling type advice, and that's "would you rather be right or happy?" - the idea being would you rather prove that you're in the right but antagonise and alienate your OH in the process or would you rather let go some of the details and work on friendlier forms of relating to one another that strengthen your relationship and bonds and bring you into greater harmony as a couple?

Joan Kennedy 03-11-2016 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spudulika (Post 3932057)

Is it effective advocacy to 'exclude' those who may have adopted a 'plant based diet' but not yet caught on with the philosophy of veganism, or is it more effective to embrace them and welcome them as fellow vegans at an initial stage of veganism? Bearing in mind these people will be Googling for 'vegan' and exposing themselves to so much more information than if they were just searching for 'plant based'.

There's something I vaguely recall from possibly some relationship counselling type advice, and that's "would you rather be right or happy?" - the idea being would you rather prove that you're in the right but antagonise and alienate your OH in the process or would you rather let go some of the details and work on friendlier forms of relating to one another that strengthen your relationship and bonds and bring you into greater harmony as a couple?

This is an important point, well said.

Siv 03-13-2016 05:56 AM

Labels labels everywhere but does does the wider world really care?

There seems to be a need for the application of a label that defines you. I struggle with this. Before globalisation mixed us all up, there were people out there who were vegetarian but never considered themselves as such. They were just following what their section of society considered a normal diet. It wasn't ethical, moral, social or dietary, it was just what you did.

I turned vegetarian a number of years ago because I felt it was wrong to kill to sustain yourself. Did this make me an ethical vegetarian? When people asked my why, I told them that I don't want to kill or be a part in killing. My perspectives on this changed when I got married. I stuck to the vegetarian diet but I also felt that it was a personal decision I made and not something I felt right forcing on my wife (or even my kids when they came along). So how strong was my moral stance? Funnily enough, no one cared, they just knew I didn't eat meat.

I then cut out the eggs and milk after spending time on this board - mainly for health reasons but I also feel that the level of cruelty in the dairy/egg industry is practically worse than killing animals for food. Now I had a new set of explaining to do and given that I have lived in 3 different countries since adopting a "vegan diet" the labels are different every time. Some people understand the term vegan, others do not so I still often have to tell them that vegans do not eat fish. It seems that outside of the vegan community, no one cares if you are a "real" vegan or not.

Plant based is yet another label which even fewer people recognize than the vegan one. Oh how I wish I could just eat what I want to eat without having to apply a label or explain why I do what I do. Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in...

Joan Kennedy 03-13-2016 07:20 AM

"Plant-based" doesn't help me in ordering meals. Waiters might perceive that it's about plants, and that maybe I'm asking for a dish that's mostly focused on vegetables, but not that I'm asking for a dish that has nothing at all in it that comes from animals. If I spell that out, they'll ask, "Oh, you're saying you want a vegan dish?" Like they're teaching me a new word.

Dave in MPLS 03-14-2016 07:24 PM

Quote:

A close friend of mine has been vegetarian for almost her entire life, but defends the Canadian seal hunt as an ecological necessity (also coyote fur!!!). She believes in these things because she knows many people who rely on the hunt for income. It's obviously wrong, but her emotions clearly cloud her judgement. She wears leather, of course, and thinks I'm slightly insane for not eating honey.
The way I like to respond to that sort of argument is follow the money. Who's profiting? Look into it a little deeper, and the animals aren't the only ones being exploited. We should look at the big picture. Unfortunately, animal advocates (and especially prominent vegan activists and organizations) do a really cruddy job at building intermovement alliances. Our would-be allies are quite justified when they ask 'where the heck were you when we needed you?'.


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