Unworthy (of the vegan label) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-16-2006, 08:34 PM
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I get asked a lot about what I eat because I don't eat meat, dairy, or eggs (or any other animal biproducts that I am aware of). However, I don't ever say that I am vegan because I feel unworthy of the name. I mess up sometimes. So I tell them I am just a strict vegetarian. They also don't understand that being a vegan is more than what you eat. But usually they continue to call me a vegan anyway because they don't quite understand (and they don't care to). It's super frustrating.



This is off-topic, but I was wondering if anyone else has this happen to them: When I tell people that I'm a vegetarian, they think I'm at a loss. They're like, " so you can't eat eggs? You can't have ice cream or yogurt or milk? What do you eat?" They'll ask me if I like something like maceroni and cheese, or if I want a chocolate covered strawberry, and then they'll say, "oh yeah, you can't have that." How do you respond to this? How do I explain to them that I enjoy my lifestyle and that I love what I eat, and am satisfied with leaving out the things I don't, without the aura or predisposition often associated with veg*ns by the misinformed?
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#2 Old 09-16-2006, 08:38 PM
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How do I explain to them that I enjoy my lifestyle and that I love what I eat, and am satisfied with leaving out the things I don't, without the aura or predisposition often associated with veg*ns by the misinformed?

You simply tell them that. Try saying, "No one tells me that I can't eat those things, I choose not to eat them. I enjoy my lifestyle, and I love what I eat."



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#3 Old 09-17-2006, 03:04 AM
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Most definitely I agree wtih veggiejanie.



The point is NOT that you "can't" eat the "food"stuffs you mention, but that you CHOOSE NOT TO.



And that makes a world of difference.



If you don't like the word "vegan", just say that you do not consume animal products. If they say "oh, then you're a vegan?", you could say that you feel very close philosophically to the vegan culture but that you're not too keen on labels.
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#4 Old 09-17-2006, 03:11 AM
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This is off-topic, but I was wondering if anyone else has this happen to them: When I tell people that I'm a vegetarian, they think I'm at a loss. They're like, " so you can't eat eggs? You can't have ice cream or yogurt or milk? What do you eat?" They'll ask me if I like something like maceroni and cheese, or if I want a chocolate covered strawberry, and then they'll say, "oh yeah, you can't have that." How do you respond to this? How do I explain to them that I enjoy my lifestyle and that I love what I eat, and am satisfied with leaving out the things I don't, without the aura or predisposition often associated with veg*ns by the misinformed?



I have the same thing. Every time someone learns I am a new dietary vegan/attempting to become a complete vegan, they look completely shocked. The other day, my mom said to me, "Alli, you can't have coldstone anymore!" As if I was supposed to be sad or something. It gets old.



I agree with Janie. That's along the lines of what I say.



I also agree with Diana about being called vegan. Just explain to people that you don't feel you are quite a vegan, just a really strict vegetarian.
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#5 Old 09-17-2006, 09:08 AM
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I have found that alot of people don't even really know what a vegan is, so if anyone asks, I just say I'm a vegetarian. It's easier all the way around.

Most people at least have an idea of what a vegetarian is, and I don't even go into the no eggs, dairy, animal products at all thing, UNLESS they ask, then I'm more than happy to let them in on my secret!!!

Then of course I get alot of, "Oh really's?" and "I never knew that!!"



Vegans rock!!



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#6 Old 09-17-2006, 09:59 AM
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I think when people say "oh you can't have that", they don't mean for it to sound harsh. We're so used to diets these days, that we live by "can have" and "can't have"... not "choose not to have."



I wouldn't assume they're being critical, just using terminology they're used to using.
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#7 Old 09-17-2006, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by OregonAmy View Post

I think when people say "oh you can't have that", they don't mean for it to sound harsh. We're so used to diets these days, that we live by "can have" and "can't have"... not "choose not to have."



I wouldn't assume they're being critical, just using terminology they're used to using.





I never really thought about this before, but I guess we should be careful to say "I don't eat chicken/cheese/jell-o, etc" instead of "I can't"



Do you think that change of wording would give off a different impression? Just a thought.
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#8 Old 09-18-2006, 09:29 AM
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Everyone around me knows the vegetarian thing, but the no dairy/eggs hasn't caught on with all my friends/family. I get tired explaining it to people and then immediately having to justify/work so they don't feel bad about their own choices in food. So I am ususally just quiet and say a polite "No thanks," when the cake is passed around at a birthday or something. Sometimes I'll even bring another cake for people to try, like a vegan chocolate cake, and then I can join in on the fun as well!

But I don't like telling people because then I feel like they watch you, waiting for you to slip up...its a lot of pressure and I don't really like dealing with it all the time. However, if people ask and genuinely want to learn more, I love to talk about it.
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#9 Old 09-18-2006, 01:06 PM
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I always say "don't eat" instead of "can't eat" and it helps a tiny bit...not much though
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#10 Old 09-20-2006, 10:31 AM
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I say "don't eat" to family and friends, to whom I don't mind explaining the how's and why's. I say "can't eat" to waiters, cooks, chefs, airline staff, hospital staff and anyone else who might be serving me food when I need to be sure they'll take it seriously. Don't want them to think I'm just picky and try to "slip" something in.
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#11 Old 09-20-2006, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by estrella View Post

.........They're like, " so you can't eat eggs? You can't have ice cream or yogurt or milk? What do you eat?" They'll ask me if I like something like maceroni and cheese, or if I want a chocolate covered strawberry, and then they'll say, "oh yeah, you can't have that." How do you respond to this? .......





ARGG. Yea... you (we) seem to lose on both sides too, unfortunately.



For instance, if someone says "Oh, you *can't* eat that, can you?" I want soo badly to say "No, I *choose* not to" - but when I say that, I'm a picky eater. I'm an inconvenience - and not taken seriously at all.



When people have the attitude that I *can't* eat something, they're WAY more accomodating, but I always have the feeling they're pitying me - and that's worse than being a picky eater any day of the week.



I totally understand your frustration. It's completely annoying that people seem to care so little about even trying to understand, even in the slightest bit. It's really not that hard of a concept to understand!
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#12 Old 09-21-2006, 12:31 AM
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I don't

I can't

I won't

I rant...



Estrella, I hate that you used the word "unworthy," but I understand your guilt and your frustrations. You are a near vegan, a future vegan, most of of messed up along the way. We are living in a world where the majority of people eat things that don't make sense to eat, we are the patient pioneers and you are very worthy in your quest.



For the longest time I was a near vegan who still ate the occassional slice of cheese pizza (would never do so now -ever) but the activist in me used the word VEGAN anyway. Back then most people I knew hadn't heard the word at all, today most people know at least one (even if they seem like the town weirdo to the truly ignorant.) We are everywhere! By 2006 we have made the word so accessible that Morningstar Farms (a giant company) has Grillers VEGAN out and loud on the front of the package seen by millions in every grocery store.



When you are comfortable with it, use the word VEGAN, use it often and use it well; make VEGAN sound like a trip to the toy store! If you slip with dairy or modicum ingredients, come here for support. You are so very worthy.
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#13 Old 09-26-2006, 04:50 PM
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This place is awesome.
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#14 Old 09-26-2006, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estrella View Post

I get asked a lot about what I eat because I don't eat meat, dairy, or eggs (or any other animal biproducts that I am aware of). However, I don't ever say that I am vegan because I feel unworthy of the name. I mess up sometimes. So I tell them I am just a strict vegetarian. They also don't understand that being a vegan is more than what you eat. But usually they continue to call me a vegan anyway because they don't quite understand (and they don't care to). It's super frustrating.



I'm not really sure what your "mess ups" are, but no one is perfect Like, when many people go out, they don't necessarily check if there is whey in the rolls, or they might be given a self-care product from a company that they would never purchase from, but just go ahead and use it anyway rather than buy something else...things like that. Some people are more strict with their practices, but for most, "vegan" can encompass occasional imperfections. However, if you're doing something like eating chicken once a week, but otherwise vegan, that would not be "vegan." So maybe think about if you're expecting perfection from yourself, or if it's a bigger problem that you can solve.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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#15 Old 09-27-2006, 08:33 AM
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Thanks, Irizary for the reply. Hehe- I DO NOT eat chicken once a week (those types of "vegetarians" make me mad, though at least they're trying)... It's just that I'm not uber-strict when I eat bread or pasta at restaurants, nor do I ask how things were cooked (but I do make sure it's not an egg bagel, or honey-wheat, or somethig like that). Or say, if a product has all vegan ingredients, but says "manufactured on equipment that contains dairy" or something like that, I'll eat it because I really don't find a problem with that-- I don't see what's wrong with supporting a product that is animal-free, though it seems to me that most vegans object to even supporting the company at all.



If I were to tell someone I was vegan, it would make me feel restricted, as if I were doing it for the label and just to be known as being a vegan by them. It would be like I was being forced to be a vegan just to live up my name and represent, rather than support my beliefs and uphold my personal lifestyle. I want them to see me as a normal person, and not put up that boundary that makes them feel as if my lifestyle is something impossible for them to follow.



Plus, I've never been around vegans before. I don't have anyone (other than at veggieboards) to look up to considering veganism. I only recently became a vegetarian-early this year- and then gradually tried to become vegan, and now it's like, "am I considered a vegan now? am I doing enough? what am I missing?"



I am trying to get my aquaintences to understand that I choose not to eat things (it's not that I can't eat them). They'll ask if something's good, or we'll talk about a certain food, and I'll say yes, it's good and agree with them about the quality in taste. Then they'll ask me if I would eat it, or if I wanted some, and I'll tell them no and what I would eat instead that is just as yummy (or better).
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#16 Old 09-27-2006, 01:33 PM
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Thanks, Irizary for the reply. Hehe- I DO NOT eat chicken once a week (those types of "vegetarians" make me mad, though at least they're trying)... It's just that I'm not uber-strict when I eat bread or pasta at restaurants, nor do I ask how things were cooked (but I do make sure it's not an egg bagel, or honey-wheat, or somethig like that). Or say, if a product has all vegan ingredients, but says "manufactured on equipment that contains dairy" or something like that, I'll eat it because I really don't find a problem with that-- I don't see what's wrong with supporting a product that is animal-free, though it seems to me that most vegans object to even supporting the company at all.



The vast majority of vegans are not concerned about the equipment that the food was manufactured on. That's put on the packaging as a liability issue in case someone has an allergic reaction. I think the product is really quite free of the animal product though. Those who care about packaged food in such a way are more concerned that it's packaged, non-whole food rather than that it shared the equipment with animal products. Avoiding a company would not generally be for that reason (the equipment sharing), but more for a reason that they test on animals (like P and G), or the company as a whole is egregiously unethical towards animals for another reason (like Smithfield Foods, if they happen to make veggie items).



Lots, perhaps most, vegans don't worry about the pasta at restaurants, maybe beyond that it's not specifically egg noodles as might be common in some dishes. Same with bagels - just avoid the honey ones. If one were buying bagels or noodles in the store, one would check for animal ingredients. But I think many people at restaurants are a little more lax about the off-chance there could be a trace of animal ingredient in something like bagels. It's easy for some of us who are in places with plenty of veg restaurants and other veg*ns - in many places those things are not even an issue, but it sounds like you're in a different environment.



It sounds like you're expecting perfection from yourself. If you were around vegans in actual life you would be able to see that most incorporate it into their lives without stressing over the occasional, possible trace contamination - and still call themselves vegan.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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#17 Old 09-28-2006, 02:00 PM
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Thanks, Irizary for the reply. Hehe- I DO NOT eat chicken once a week (those types of "vegetarians" make me mad, though at least they're trying)... It's just that I'm not uber-strict when I eat bread or pasta at restaurants, nor do I ask how things were cooked (but I do make sure it's not an egg bagel, or honey-wheat, or somethig like that). Or say, if a product has all vegan ingredients, but says "manufactured on equipment that contains dairy" or something like that, I'll eat it because I really don't find a problem with that-- I don't see what's wrong with supporting a product that is animal-free, though it seems to me that most vegans object to even supporting the company at all.



I'm the same way, and I still consider myself vegan. If I'm at the mall, and I pass by a chocolate store, I'll go ahead and buy 2 or 3 dark chocolate almond clusters, and even though I don't have access to the ingredients, I'll assume it's vegan. However, if I'm holding a dark chocolate candy bar, and the ingredients say that it contains milk fat (or whatever), I won't eat it. I will also eat a product that is vegan but says "may contain trace amounts of dairy."



Also, I'd rather have someone say I "can't" eat something. To me, someone saying "Kelly can't eat ice cream" implies to other people that I am unable to. But someone saying "Kelly won't eat ice cream" implies that I'm really picky/hard to please/high maintenance/on some special weight loss diet/whatever.
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#18 Old 09-28-2006, 04:22 PM
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Also, I'd rather have someone say I "can't" eat something. To me, someone saying "Kelly can't eat ice cream" implies to other people that I am unable to. But someone saying "Kelly won't eat ice cream" implies that I'm really picky/hard to please/high maintenance/on some special weight loss diet/whatever.

When you say it that way I totally agree with you. It's not like someone's going to take the time to say, "She chooses not to eat it" rather than "She can't eat it" or "She won't eat it." And "won't" is certainly worse because then the person thinks wer'e being stubborn and picky.
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#19 Old 10-02-2006, 08:48 AM
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If I were you, I'd just call myself a Vegan. I don't eat Vegan 100% of the time, partially because everyone makes mistakes and partially because I think it's more important to eat the Red Robin Boca Burger that contains traces of dairy and therefore demonstrate to my non-Vegan friends that it is both possible and convenient to be Vegan than to refuse to eat in every restaurant where the veggies aren't grilled far enough from the meat.



We all do the best we can. You're a Vegan as far as I'm concerned.
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#20 Old 10-02-2006, 10:19 AM
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it's more important to eat the Red Robin Boca Burger that contains traces of dairy and therefore demonstrate to my non-Vegan friends that it is both possible and convenient to be Vegan.







I guess it is sort of important to show people that it's really easy to be a lacto-ovo veg and pretend to be vegan sure.

Surely looking convenient is more important then contributing to the dairy and veal industries.

- veganism by definition is extreme - If you don't think that dairy matters, then that is lacto-vegetarianism.



perspective:

Yeah I'm not a cannibal, this burger only has small traces of human flesh in it.





you're not showing people that veganism is convenient by eating non-vegan foods. it just doesn't make any logical sense.
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#21 Old 10-02-2006, 12:53 PM
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I guess it is sort of important to show people that it's really easy to be a lacto-ovo veg and pretend to be vegan sure.

Surely looking convenient is more important then contributing to the dairy and veal industries.

- veganism by definition is extreme - If you don't think that dairy matters, then that is lacto-vegetarianism.



perspective:

Yeah I'm not a cannibal, this burger only has small traces of human flesh in it.





you're not showing people that veganism is convenient by eating non-vegan foods. it just doesn't make any logical sense.



I see your point, but, in the case of the Boca Burger, do omni's know it contains traces of dairy/eggs unless you said "The burger contains traces of cheese, but I'm eating it anyway?" Ordering cheese ravioli is one thing, but I believe omni's (most of whom have never eaten a veggie burger) would assume it's vegan because they don't realize there are vegan and nonvegan veggie burgers. For all they know, you're eating a vegan meal. Am I making sense?
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#22 Old 10-02-2006, 01:08 PM
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For all they know, you're eating a vegan meal. Am I making sense?



No. Because for all you know, you aren't.



Don't be a vegetarian in vegan's clothing just to get the approval of your friends. Be a vegan for yourself and balls to any omni who doesn't like it.



Cheers!

TJ
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#23 Old 10-02-2006, 01:53 PM
 
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I see your point, but, in the case of the Boca Burger, do omni's know it contains traces of dairy/eggs unless you said "The burger contains traces of cheese, but I'm eating it anyway?" Ordering cheese ravioli is one thing, but I believe omni's (most of whom have never eaten a veggie burger) would assume it's vegan because they don't realize there are vegan and nonvegan veggie burgers. For all they know, you're eating a vegan meal. Am I making sense?



Well, the problem is you are doing it deceptively. Given that your friends are, presumably, omni's, would it be so weird to let them know that eating o/l veg is not as bad as they think. It's likely that even if any of them went veg, that a small percentage would go vegan.



Vegans are rare even in the veg*n community. It is great to go veg, but it takes something special to be a vegan.



This does open up an interesting point that I have wondered about: What if you eat a non-vegan product, but for a "vegan" purpose?



I remember reading years ago that Alicia Silverstone, when dining with omni's, would eat the leftover meat because she hated that the animal was killed for food, then wasted. From a very anal perspective you could say she's not vegan because she is eating meat, but I would think we all agree that her overall purpose of doing this is more of a "vegan" purpose.



I could never do that, but I have tremendous respect for someone doing that. Though I do think that with other people, it could be a way of rationalizing.



This is also the same reason I buy BK Veggies. They really aren't very good, but anytime I need food in a pinch I will buy one. Obviously I would prefer if it were vegan, but I believe supporting the greater proliferation and exposure of non-meat alternatives serves the greater good.
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#24 Old 10-19-2006, 06:49 PM
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hey if i were you and you're just making "mess-ups" that aren't like on purpose, go ahead and call yourself a vegan. (for example, i've been in the getting-to-veganism stages for a few weeks now, i eat things like bread and cereals sweetend with honey that i've had in my house since i decided to make the change, therefore, because i'm concious of these "mess-ups" i don't call myself a vegan quite yet. i'm in transit ) also, don't stress about the mess ups. someone on here mentioned going out and not knowing what's in the rolls you're eating. while i DEFINATELY encourage asking your server and reading up on nutritional info ahead of time, if you don't want to make it look like something you "can't" eat, then just make it (veganism) seem as easy as possible. often when friends ask "what CAN you eat?" i will open their lunch box and point to something that's "accidentally vegan" such as ritz crackers, cheerios etc.



good luck, and don't worry about labels
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#25 Old 10-19-2006, 06:55 PM
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who cares what you call yourself, and who cares what anyone else calls you. Just dont eat what you dont want to eat and have fun with it.
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#26 Old 10-19-2006, 08:30 PM
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I think that's why I don't think I'd ever call myself vegan. I think I hold Vegans to higher standards than many of them hold themselves to.



It also bugs me when people say "You can't eat that, can you?" Depending on who it is, I'll say "I can. I don't." or if it's a friend, i'll say "I'm an adult. I can eat anything i want" jokingly.
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#27 Old 10-20-2006, 07:27 AM
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Ok semi- mostly vegan here...Instead of I can't eat or don't eat.

I tend to say I avoid dairy due to ethical reasons.

If someone asks further I'll explain, if not that stands alone as a good enough reason.
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#28 Old 10-23-2006, 04:22 PM
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I find myself liking troub more and more each day



And the BK Veggie burger is far from even vegetarian. Sure it's vegetarian before its flame broiled but it goes through the same liquid the other patties go through (beef & chicken) so it's basically soaked and cooked in animal juices. I think you can get them to microwave them if you ask very nice but the bun contains butter (which I guess doesn't matter since the patty has milk and egg whites in it)



I'd rather not support the fast food business that makes hundreds of thousands off funding the slaughtering of cows



But I understand the unworthiness of the "label" though I don't do labels very well. I am still struggling with feelings of unworthiness since I still wear my old shoes. I can't afford to replace them yet so my mum is going to buy me some soon for xmas
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#29 Old 10-23-2006, 08:46 PM
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Lani, what kind of stuff do you eat? Where do you buy your clothes? I can pretty much guarantee you're giving your money to companies that do the same thing somewhere down the line.

I feel buying vegetarian/vegan (veg*n) things from non-strictly-vegan companies shows them the demand is here. That helps companies realize they should try producing more veg*n items, and in the long run, it makes veg*nism a lot easier and more convenient, and it might make more people turn to it.
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#30 Old 10-23-2006, 09:57 PM
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labels are dumb. you shouldn't feel unworth of the name because hey it's just a name right? you are amongst the minority of people who have chosen to live a more compassionate life style(whether or not it was for dietary or ethical reasons) and you should be proud of that nonetheless. as far feeling like your at a loss simply...don't. i tell people that the things i don't eat are things i chose not to eat. not because the vegan god told me to but my heart. detach yourself from the label and REALLY analyze why you made you choose not to eat animals and what that kind of difference that makes, and you'll feel a lot better about it.
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